For some of the patients, who had come for free hepatitis screening on Saturday, all was not well. Around 10% of them had their worse fears come true when they found out that they were infected with the virus.
As many as 300 people visited the camp, set by Shifa International Hospital at the gastroenterology clinic, during which some of them were tested hepatitis C positive.
For many patients, the news came as a shock and they immediately left the camp without even consulting the gastroenterologist. However, some of them braved the depressing news and spent time to consult the doctor.
Among them was Samina Bibi, who had come from Mansehra to confirm her disease. Bibi said she had been diagnosed with hepatitis C earlier after she went to a doctor when she was unable to digest food properly. I think I contracted the disease from a roadside dental clinic where I went to have my tooth removed, she said. However, Bibi was relieved with the fact that her disease had been diagnosed at an early stage.
Similarly, 39-year-old Adil Khan from Attock, who was also diagnosed with hepatitis C, said he had received an injection at a clinic in Lahore, which he now suspects had been used before.
The consultant, Dr Nasir Khokhar, said approximately 4.5% of the population is infected with hepatitis C, while another 2.5% was suffering from hepatitis B.
“Use of old syringes and blades, consumption of alcohol and transfusion of unscreened blood are among the major causes of hepatitis,” he said, adding that the disease, if not treated on time, can lead to cirrhosis which accounts for 80% of liver cancer cases.
Published in The Express Tribune, July 29th, 2012.
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