As part of the project, the institutions will collectively build rural community outreach and viral hepatitis clinical testing capabilities,
The Rajiv Gandhi University (RGU) has inked a Memorandum of Understanding with the Kolkata-based Indian Institute of Liver & Digestive Sciences (IILDS), a unit of the Liver Foundation (West Bengal), which would engage the two institutions on co-operation and implementation of a community-based project on delivery of comprehensive HBV care in Arunachal Pradesh, comprising population screening and linkage to care. The John C. Martin Foundation (USA) is funding the project with the LFWB, IILDS as the primary recipient of the grant and RGU as the sub-recipient.
As part of the project, the institutions will collectively build rural community outreach and viral hepatitis clinical testing capabilities, consolidate viral hepatitis disease characterization and research capabilities and also sample general populations in Arunachal to understand HBV prevalence and characteristics, while linking participants to care including vaccination, monitoring and treatment.
Designed with a duration of 10 months, the Rs. 60-lakh project would target a population of 3000 people of all ages and both sex, residing in the State and also build capacity of healthcare workers (doctors and nurses) about disease states, prevention, care and treatment of hepatitis B, in addition to training laboratory workers to conduct clinical tests for hepatitis infection, diagnosis and monitoring. The project would also conduct screening of hepatitis B and hepatitis C to identify those currently infected, previously exposed, immunized by vaccination and at-risk for infection.
After the results are analyzed and reported, individuals will be followed up according to the status of the screening results. Those with chronic infection will be referred to infectious disease or liver specialists. Vaccination will be offered to those who are at risk and vaccination of infants will be conducted, starting with birth dose according to WHO guidelines.
IILDS was represented by its Secretary of Board of Governance, Prof. (Dr.) Abhijit Chowdhury at the signing, while the RGU team comprised of Vice-Chancellor Prof. Saket Kushwaha, Registrar Prof. Tomo Riba, Members of the Executive Council of the RGU, Dr. Akin Tana Tara and officers of the University.
Extending his congratulations to both the institutions, RGU VC Prof. Kushwaha said that this MoU was an indicator of the larger role that a University needs to play in addition to providing access to higher education and research. “Universities must engage with civil society and constantly explore ways of how it can contribute to the State’s well being. Academic work is one component of what we do. This, the outreach and finding synergies with the people, is another significant component that RGU has always striven to deliver”, he said.
The Indian Institute of Liver and Digestive Science (IILDS) is an emerging centre of excellence for research and patient care services for liver and gastrointestinal disease. The institute has been set up and governed by Liver Foundation, West Bengal which is a non-government charity involved in liver disease awareness programs, institution building for provision of state of art care and fostering cutting edge research in liver diseases, through application of state of art technology as well as knowledge in the context of regional priorities as well as research in liver disease.