Hepatitis prevalance hits 5% in country

KARACHI:

There are over 10 million cases of Hepatitis in Pakistan, healthcare experts said stressing on the need to raise awareness about seeking treatment before the disease becomes a threat.

Hepatitis Control Programme Sindh Additional Director Dr Zulfiqar Dharejo, speaking at an awareness seminar to commemorate World Hepatitis Day organised by Dr Ziauddin Hospital said “Sindh government is actively engaged in providing free vaccines and treatments for hepatitis.”

On this occasion, Prof Dr Abbas Zafar, Dean, Faculty of Health Sciences, Ziauddin University said that better treatment is possible only with early diagnosis.

While highlighting the reasons for the spread of hepatitis Prof. Zaigham Abbas, Head of Department Hepatology and Gastroenterology, Ziauddin University said that Hepatitis B and C are mainly blood-borne diseases, spread by infected blood and body fluids.

While discussing the establishment of WHO, Dr Khurram Baqai, Assistant Professor of Gastroenterology, Ziauddin University, highlighted that Pakistan bears heavy burden of hepatitis C, with a nationwide prevalence exceeding 5% (10 million cases), primarily concentrated in Punjab, followed by Sindh, K-P, and Balochistan.

Furthermore, in Pakistan, approximately 5 million individuals carry the hepatitis B virus (HBV) with a carrier rate of 2.5%.

Notably, certain districts in upper Sindh, Southern Punjab, and Balochistan exhibit significantly higher prevalence rates than the national average.”

According to Dr. Fatima Jehangir, Chair of the Department of Family Medicine at Ziauddin University, “prevention strategies for hepatitis A and E involve regular handwashing with soap and water.”

Published in The Express Tribune, July 22nd2023.


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