DHARAMSHALA: The health department of the Central Tibetan Administration, in collaboration with the John Hopkins University, has started a hepatitis B pilot project in Tibetan settlements in Bylakuppe in the southern Indian state of Karnataka.
“From July to October 2013, Johns Hopkins University will work with nurses from Tso Jhe Khangsar Hospital to implement a study of hepatitis B in the settlements. About 3,000 participants, including students and monks would be chosen for this study and voluntarily undergo blood testing for hepatitis B infection,” Trinley Palmo, a health department official told TibetNet.
Palmo said that the findings from this project will estimate the current rate with which hepatitis B is spreading within the Tibetan community. They will provide important information about the number of people who may benefit from vaccination, as well as the proportion of the hepatitis B infected population that may benefit from the medical treatment. Further, it will also provide information about the current treatment regimen people seek for the disease.
“We hope that findings from this study would facilitate better access to hepatitis B prevention and treatment in the Tibetan community in the near future,” she said.
From July 15 to 27, the study coordinators from Johns Hopkins University worked with Department of Health’s Tso Jhe Khangsar Hospital, Bylakuppe to begin implementation of the study plan. Several meetings were held with local settlement officers, village coordinators, school officials, and monastery officials to discuss the goals of the study and plans for implementation. Additionally, they gave a series of health awareness talks at Lugsum and Dekyi Larsoe Tibetan settlements. The implementation of hepatitis B testing as part of this project will continue from the month of August till October, 2013.