Bollywood legend Amitabh Bachchan has been appointed the WHO Goodwill Ambassador for Hepatitis awareness in South-East Asia region. In a statement issued on Friday , the world health body said that the 74-year-old actor has been brought on board to boost awareness and intensify action to arrest the Hepatitis epidemic. WHO’s decision to appoint Bachchan as ambassador could be a well-thought-out strategy as the superstar himself has fought a long battle with this disease. He had also been associated with various Hepatitis B awareness campaigns in the country.
During a press conference in 2015, the superstar had revealed that he was an acute patient of hepatitis B himself and had almost lost 75 percent of his liver due to late diagnosis of the disease.
The superstar was critically injured during the film shoot of Manmohan Desai’s Coolie on 26 July 1982 in Bangalore. A mistimed jump in a fight scene with co-star Puneet Issar made him hit the corner of a table, instead of landing on top of it as he was meant to. This resulted in an internal abdominal injury. He was transferred to a Mumbai hospital, where according to the actor, he went into a “haze and coma-like situation”, and was “clinically dead for a couple of minutes”. Following the injury, thousands queued up to donate blood to their favorite superstar. Two hundred people donated blood and 60 bottles of blood were collected and infused into the actor. But, this led to the problem.
“Hepatitis B hit me accidentally. After the accident on the sets of ‘Coolie’ (1983), I was infused with the blood of about 200 donors and 60 bottles of blood were injected into my system,” Bachchan had said at a media event on 2015 World Hepatitis Day.
It was after 18 long years the actor found that he was infected with the deadly virus and only 1/4th of his liver is functional.
“One of my blood donors was carrying Hepatitis B virus which went into my system. I continued to function normally till year 2000 and almost 18 years after the accident, during a very normal medical check-up, I was told that my liver was infected and I had lost 75 per cent of my liver,” he said while recalling his brush with the deadly disease.
Asking the affected people not to lose hope, the thespian said that a person with just 12 per cent of functional liver can survive this disease if he takes regular medicines and tests.