Hepatitis B and C are spreading in the country at a fast pace and this is a cause of concern for both policymakers and health professionals, Chief Minister’s Adviser on Health Khawaja Salman Rafique said on Monday.
He was addressing a conference on hepatitis control organised by the Health Department at Aiwan-i-Iqbal.
“There is a need to create public awareness about the disease and the principle that prevention is better than cure,” he said.
The objective of the conference was to inform doctors, nurses and other healthcare staff about the threat posed by hepatitis and to discuss the hepatitis awareness week, starting from October 28.
Rafique said that the government was paying special attention to stopping quacks who claimed to cure hepatitis. “We are preparing legislation for declaring quackery a non-bailable offence and increasing the punishment for it,” he said.
Rafique said that the fatal disease could only be brought under control with the help of people.
“Destroying used syringes is an important step to stop the spread of hepatitis,” he said.
He said that the disposal of hospital waste in a proper manner was essential and administrations of government hospitals must make the proper arrangements.
“The government will provide free injections and medicines to 100,000 hepatitis patients. On the instructions of the chief minister, arrangements have been finalised for building a state-of-the-art liver transplant centre at Dera Chahl in Lahore. The government will soon appoint consultants to provide modern treatment facilities to liver cancer patients,” he said.
“The government will also evolve a policy for the control of hepatitis in the light of recommendations presented by professionals in the conference. The purpose of holding the conference is to renew the determination against hepatitis among the public and medical experts associated with this sector,” he said.
Rafique said that the Health Department was registering hepatitis patients. “A crackdown will soon be started against substandard blood banks,” he said.
Rafique said that the government was also making efforts to resolve the problems faced by paramedics and for promotion of nurses. “We want them to discharge their duties with complete devotion and dedication,” he said.
The conference was also addressed by senior doctors, principals of medical colleges and health professionals who shed light on the causes of the disease as well as the latest methods of its treatment.
Health Secretary Jawad Rafique Malik, Health Director General Dr Zahid Pervaiz and Parliamentary Secretary on Health Khawaja Imran Nazir were also present.
Published in The Express Tribune, October 28th, 2014.
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