Hepatitis may be dubbed a menace in the health sector but the government is already working hard to root it out, said Dr Abdul Majeed Chhutto, the programme manager of Chief Minister’s Initiative for Hepatitis Free Sindh.
Chutto had organised a press conference at the Karachi Press Club on Wednesday to share the progress of the campaign and to defend it against recently exposed corruption charges.
According to him, since 2009 about 140,000 hepatitis B and C patients had been treated and 460,000 vaccinated for hepatitis B.
Around 1.8 million children between ages five and 15 in Karachi and Hyderabad divisions had been vaccinated in the drive to immunise six million school children across the province.
Chutto also said that the government had also increased its financial support for hepatitis patients by conducting free diagnosis tests. There were three laboratories in Sukkur, Mirpurkhas and Larkana where they could be conducted. Each district will receive Rs 2.4 million per year for the project.
According to a survey conducted in 2008, there are about 2 million hepatitis patients in Pakistan and out of them around 1.5 million are in Sindh. Dr Chhutto said that Karachi did not have many of them except for some areas in Gadap, while hepatitis B was prevalent in upper Sindh - Ghotki, Shikarpur and Jacobabad, hepatitis C in lower Sindh - Thatta, Jamshoro and Badin. The programme had been extended till 2015 and the government aimed to treat 95,000 patients and vaccinate 1.4 million for the disease.
Published in The Express Tribune, June 28th, 2012.
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