KARACHI: More than 80% people, out of a sample taken from the city and outskirts of Thatta, tested positive for hepatitis B and C during a screening in a two-day free medical camp in the city.
A medical and surgical camp was organised on Saturday and Sunday at Qadir Bux Bhutto Trust Hospital's building by Hashmanis Medical and Welfare Foundation, a Karachi-based charity organisation.
The facts were shared on Tuesday by the foundation's chairperson and renowned eye surgeon, Dr Sharif Hashmani, while addressing a media briefing held at Hashmanis Hospital.
"More than 1,100 patients were examined during the two-day camp and over 500 of them were screened for hepatitis profile, cholesterol and diabetes," Dr Hashmani said. He informed the media that 80% of the lab samples were found positive for hepatitis B and C. According to him, the results were alarming and warranted urgent action by government officials.
More than 25% people were found diabetic after laboratory tests, Dr Hashmani said. As many as 123 cataract operations were performed on patients during the two days, he added.
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"We will soon establish a charity hospital for the poor population of Thatta and its surrounding areas," the medical foundation's chairperson announced. He also informed journalists that Qadir Bux Bhutto had offered the foundation his trust's hospital space located on Thatta's main artery to establish a charity healthcare facility.
Commenting on factors which had led to the spread of hepatitis, Dr Hashmani said unhygienic conditions, use of unsterilised dental equipment by quacks, reuse of syringes and blades used by barbers were the major causes behind the spread of the deadly disease.
Dr Hashmani said if patients had immunity, they would resist further spread of the disease, otherwise, they would suffer from a chronic phase which would affect their liver. He demanded that the health department conduct camps to ascertain the total number of hepatitis B and C patients in all the districts of the province.
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When approached by The Express Tribune regarding the matter, Thatta District Health Officer Dr Khuda Bux Memon said, "Neither was I intimidated regarding the conducting of a free health camp, nor have I been provided with any findings by officials claiming the prevalence of the disease".