Tackling the disease that kills more than a million yearly: tve takes hepatitis science to communities in India

On 21 May media charity tve launches the first stage of an ambitious year-long project helping communities in two Indian cities to combat one of the world’s most deadly, but little publicised, diseases – viral hepatitis.

‘Films for Change: taking hepatitis science to communities through film’ harnesses the power of film and the creativity of young new filmmakers in a bold new public health venture supported by the Wellcome Trust and the World Hepatitis Alliance.

In Lucknow and Mumbai, young filmmakers will join eminent hepatologists, patients, NGOs and an experienced filmmaker in an intensive exploration of the latest science and debates about ways of combating viral hepatitis. They’ll then pitch proposals for short documentaries to expert panels which will choose two winning proposals at each location and award bursaries to turn those ideas into reality. The four winning films will be screened in Mumbai and Lucknow, along with panel discussions involving local communities, filmmakers and scientists. The films will also be available online.

Anshul Ojha, tve’s programme manager in South Asia, said: ‘We know that film has the power to change people’s understanding of health and disease in the poorest of communities, as well as to affect policymaking. Through this project, our young filmmakers will show people what science can mean in combating hepatitis and how they can use new science to stop this deadly disease.’

Charles Gore, President of the World Hepatitis Alliance, said: ‘Despite the fact that viral hepatitis kills 1.4 million people every year, making it the 7th biggest killer globally, hepatitis has simply never had the exposure needed to make it a public health priority. The involvement of creative people who can tell the story of hepatitis in a compelling way is absolutely vital in changing this inexplicable neglect.’

Helen Latchem, International Engagement Advisor at the Wellcome Trust, said: ‘We are pleased to be supporting a project exploring such an important health issue with audiences in India. It is fantastic that it will result in creative short films which can be used to further discussion about hepatitis, while also helping junior researchers and young filmmakers develop their skills.’

tve will be working in Lucknow with Dr Rakesh Aggarwal and Dr Amit Goel at the Sanjay Gandhi Postgraduate Institute of Medical Sciences; and in Mumbai with Dr Samir Shah at the Institute of Liver Diseases, Hepatopancreatobiliary Surgery and Transplant at the Global Hospital, and Dr Akash Shukla at Seth G.S. Medical College and King Edward Memorial (KEM) Hospital.

Notes to editors

About tve: tve works with filmmakers and partners worldwide to make and distribute films that put the environment and sustainability on the global agenda. From aspiring filmmakers documenting the challenge of e-waste disposal to major corporations showcasing innovation, we help to give a voice and a platform to a new generation of filmmakers who want to see a greener, fairer world. Our films inspire change. For more information visit www.tve.org

About the Wellcome Trust: the Wellcome Trust is a global charitable foundation dedicated to improving health. They support bright minds in science, the humanities and the social sciences, as well as education, public engagement and the application of research to medicine.

About the World Hepatitis Alliance (WHA): WHA is a not-for-profit international umbrella non-governmental organisation registered in Switzerland. Membership is composed of over 200 organisations who work in the field of viral hepatitis, representing every region of the world. The organisation has members throughout South Asia. For more information visit www.worldhepatitisalliance.org/

About Dr Rakesh Aggarwal: Dr. Aggarwal is a hepatologist, working as a Professor at the Sanjay Gandhi Postgraduate Institute of Medical Sciences, Lucknow, India. He has been engaged in the care of patients with liver disease, including viral hepatitis, research on various forms of viral hepatitis and in training budding hepatologists. He is a member of several national and international groups related to viral hepatitis and liver disease.

About Dr Amit Goel: Dr. Goel is a gastroenterologist who has been working in the field of hepatology for the last five years. Besides patient care in the field of liver and gastrointestinal disease, he is actively involved in teaching and research. His primary research area is viral hepatitis. He has published nearly 30 research papers in various national and international journals.

About Dr Samir Shah: Dr. Samir Shah is the Head of the Department of Hepatology at the Institute of Liver Diseases, Hepatopancreatobiliary Surgery and Transplant at the Global Hospital, Mumbai, and visiting consultant to Jaslok Hospital and Research Centre and Breach Candy Hospital. He is a Founder Trustee and the Hon.Gen. Secretary of the National Liver Foundation, a Founder Member, Coalition to Eradicate Viral Hepatitis in Asia Pacific (CEVHAP) and an expert with the Core Advisory Group on Viral Hepatitis, Indian Council of Medical Research.

About Dr Akash Shukla: Dr Shukla is a Professor (Additional) in the Department of Gastroenterology at Seth G.S. Medical College and King Edward Memorial (KEM) hospital and visiting consultant hepatologist at the Global Hospital and Tata Memorial Cancer hospital and Research Centre, Mumbai. He is actively involved in providing affordable care and spreading awareness about viral hepatitis by working in collaboration with several NGOs and government bodies. He is an invited member of the Vascular Liver Disease Group (VALDIG) of the European Association for the Study of the Liver (EASL).

Find out more at www.tve.org

For media enquiries contact: Cheryl Campbell on cheryl.campbell@tve.org.uk