ISLAMABAD: Minister for National Health Services Saira Afzal Tarar addressed the World Hepatitis Summit in the Brazilian city of Sao Paolo on Saturday.
According to a message received here, she shared that Pakistan has about 12 million people suffering from hepatitis B or C.
Considering that Pakistan has one of the highest burden of disease with regard to Hepatitis B and C in the EMRO region comprising 22 countries, there was a need to have in place a consensus National Strategic framework to control the spread of the disease. It is with this objective that our Ministry in partnership with the provinces launched Pakistan National Hepatitis Strategy Framework to eliminate the disease by the year 2030.
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We understand that the first step is to enhance hepatitis B vaccination in all ages including the birth dose. Secondly to ensure safe blood transfusion and the third is to ensure strict adherence to infection control practices in the health care facilities.
Finally, we must encourage people to get tested and treat those who are infected .My ministry undertook some tangible steps for the effective prevention and control of hepatitis in the country. The Technical Advisory Group on hepatitis was constituted. This body guides the Federal government and Provincial hepatitis programmes on way forward to achieve disease control. On the advice of Technical Advisory Group, our government has introduced the new oral hepatitis drugs in the country and negotiated with the pharmaceutical companies to bring the cost down.
During my tenure, the Technical Advisory Group also developed new hepatitis C treatment guidelines, which have been handed over to the provinces for use.
Published in The Express Tribune, November 5th, 2017.