World Digestive Health Day 2018

Govt. urged to make Hepatitis B & C
screening mandatory

KARACHI: Every 5th death in Sindh is being caused by Hepatitis B and C or their complications where 20 to 25 percent population is infected with the deadly viral disease while in some areas of the province including Gadap and Kathore near Karachi and coastal areas of Sindh, around 30 to 35 percent people have been found infected with viral hepatitis. This was stated by consultant Hepatologists and Gastroenterologists while speaking at a consultative meeting to observe the World Digestive Health Day 2018 organized by Pakistan GI and Liver Diseases Society (PGLDS) held at a local hotel here, recently.

Dr. Shahid Ahmed, Patron of PGLDS speaking at the occasion said that World Health Organization (WHO) has set the target of elimination of Hepatitis B and C from the world by 2030 but keeping in view the state of affairs in Pakistan, especially in Sindh, it seems to be a far cry. Government and private sector would have to make collaborative efforts on war-footing basis to contain and eradicate this menace as it is easy to screen, diagnose and treat viral hepatitis these days. Most of the patients of viral hepatitis never know about their disease until it gets into chronic stage and badly damages their livers. If screened and diagnosed earlier, these patients can be properly treated and viruses of Hepatitis B and C can be eliminated from their bodies, he added.

President of the PGLDS Dr. Sajjad Jamil stated that Pakistan had the second highest number of viral hepatitis patients after China but added that China reduced the number of Hepatitis B patients to only one percent through affective vaccination while in Pakistan, nobody knows the actual number of Hepatitis patients. Screening, diagnosis and treatment of Hepatitis B and C is now very easy and cost-effective in Pakistan. Medicines are available which can cure this disease up to 99 percent while these drugs also have very little side effects, he added.

Dr. Lubna Kamanai, demanded the government to seek Hepatitis Screening Certificate at the time of issuance of Computerized National Identity Card (CNIC) to citizens so that government could know the actual number of patients infected with viral hepatitis in the country. She urged the government to arrange free of charge screening of Hepatitis B and C in Pakistan so that people could know about their disease as in most of the cases, people were not aware that they were infected with deadly viral disease till they become chronic patients.

Registrar of Dow University of Health Sciences (DUHS) Dr. Amanullah Abbassi claimed that Sindh Government had not winded up the Hepatitis Control Program and health department had involved Agha Khan Hospital and other NGOs to work for elimination of viral hepatitis from the province. The consultative meeting was also addressed by Commissioner of Compensation Sindh Syed Farrukh Humyun Zaidi, Dr. Shoaib Siddiqui, Dr. Hafeezullah Shaikh, Dr. Mukesh Kumar, Dr. Nazish Butt, Dr. Shahid Mahmood, Dr. Rajesh Kumar and Dr. Arif while a large number of postgraduate and medical students also attended the event. (PR)

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