September 6, 2013

‘12m people infected with hepatitis in Pakistan’

Bureau report
Friday, September 06, 2013
From Print Edition

PESHAWAR: The prevalence of Hepatitis B stands at 2.6 percent and that of Hepatitis C at 4.8 percent, while currently there are 12 million people infected with the disease in the country.

Associate Professor of Medicine at the Lady Reading Hospital Dr Javed Iqbal Farooqi and Chairman Association of Pakistani Physicians of North America (APPNA) Hepatitis Initiatives Dr Maqbool Arshad expressed these views while speaking at a one-day symposium on “Hepatitis Epidemic and Control Strategy in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa” at a hotel.

The speakers said the main reasons for the spread of hepatitis are frequent use of therapeutic injections, re-use of syringes, blood transfusions with unscreened blood, inappropriate sterilisation practices and weak hospital waste management.

The Khyber Medical University had organised the event in collaboration with the Department of Health and APPNA with main objective of raising awareness about treatment and prevention of hepatitis.

Provincial Minister for Health Shaukat Ali Yousafzai was chief guest on the occasion, while acting KMU Vice-chancellor Prof Dr Shad Mohammad, Dr Fakhar-e-Alam, secretary for health, Prof Dr Mukhtiar Zaman, director research KMU, and central PTI leader Azam Khan Swati also spoke on the occasion.

The speakers said the spread of hepatitis could easily be checked by raising awareness among people on large scale.

About causes of spread of hepatitis B & C, the speakers said use of used syringes, unsafe sexual relations, unscreened blood transfusions, shaving with contaminated razor, tattooing, contaminated instruments of footpath dentists, unsafe intravenous infusions, wastes in hospital wards and improper blood sample collection are among major factors contributing to spread of the disease. By adopting simple preventive measures, we can control the spread of the disease, they added.

Addressing the symposium Shaukat Ali Yousafzai said awareness among general public can reduce the burden of hepatitis on society. The government of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa is committed to adopting all possible measures to contain hepatitis from the province, he said.

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