ISLAMABAD: Federal Health Minister Aamir Mehmood Kiani inaugurated a Model Centre for Infectious Diseases at Sector G-7/3 Dispensary in Islamabad. On this occasion the federal health minister said that the model centre will be dedicated to the screening, testing and treatment of Hepatitis C patients with integration of other infectious diseases like Tuberculosis (TB).
“Under this project we will start the screening from underserved communities of ICT. The teams will go door to door in slum communities to screen high risk individuals. Those found positive will be referred to this centre for its treatment,” said the health minister while inaugurating the centre.
Kiani further said that to curb the burden of Hepatitis C, the Health Ministry is implementing a Hepatitis Prevention and Control Project for the Islamabad Capital Territory (ICT) while incorporating TB testing and treatment. The Hepatitis C patients will be cured with a three month oral tablet treatment. They claim that the treatment is guaranteed to be without side-effects.
Healthcare for all: Kiani
Moreover, a Hepatitis B vaccine will also be given to the patients undergoing Hepatitis C treatment. All the testing, treatment and Hepatitis B vaccination will be done free of cost. Our dedicated staff will ensure a follow up procedure for patients in the community to maximise the treatment compliance and response.
While speaking to the media Kiani further elaborated the operations of the Centre. He expressed that we will carry out a vigorous awareness campaign in these communities using the innovative modes of communications to raise awareness for health seeking behaviours, precautionary measurements and information about the Centre. The purpose is to sensitise the masses in an effective and proficient manner rather using conventional modes of communication.
Pakistan has the second highest disease burden of Hepatitis C in the world. Almost 10 million people are affected with Hepatitis C in Pakistan. Inadequately screened blood transfusions; inappropriately sterilised medical, surgical, dental and gynaecological instruments; sharing razors, shaving blades and toothbrushes are the most significant risk factors for the transmission of the Hepatitis C in our country. If left untreated many people will develop life threatening complications including liver cancer.
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Over 1,500 people, who visited the Federal Government Services Hospital (Polyclinic), tested positive for hepatitis in the federal capital last year.
This was disclosed in data released by the hospital recently.
The blood transfusion department of Poly Clinic has certified that during 2018, it received 22,590 samples of patients to test the presence of the virus. Among these, 1,767 blood samples were found to be infected with hepatitis B and C.
Of these, 1,151 samples from patients were found to be infected with hepatitis C while a further 616 were found to be infected with hepatitis B.
Similarly, of the 4,747 bags of blood screened, 126 and 64 bags of blood were found to be infected with hepatitis C and B respectively.
The department also performed blood grouping of 18,539 people, while 4,805 bags of blood were donated to the hospital, 5,203 were matched, 4,619 packed cells were created, 4,619 platelet bags were also generated.
Direct Blood combinations test of 2,715 patients were conducted, while 3,173 patients were tested indirectly.
A single bag, out of the 4,747 blood bags, tested positive for the Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome (AIDS). Dr Sharif Astori, a spokesperson for the hospital, said that the blood bank of the hospital is the sole free service provider in the city.
Published in The Express Tribune, March 3rd, 2019.
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