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Fake hepatitis figures

Published Aug 01, 2013 07:31am

WHAT prompted me to write this letter was the news in newspapers and comments on websites quoting that prevalence of hepatitis in Pakistan is 10 pc.

July 28 was marked as the World Hepatitis Day worldwide, including Pakistan. On this day, seminars and talk shows were arranged; the majority of speakers spoke about the disease.

However, the figures of hepatitis they presented in their speeches are fake and devoid of any facts. The 10 pc figure of the hepatitis ratio is 20 years old. In fact, it is more than 10 pc.

To the best of my memory, 20 years back I read in some English newspaper that 10 pc population of Pakistan is hepatitis-carrier. The news also carried a photo of Imran Khan in an awareness campaign against hepatitis through the print media.

My other recollection dates back to June/July 2006 when I was in the UAE. It was an electronic advertisement on some Indian channel quoting hepatitis ratio in Pakistan as 10 pc. This advertisement too could be a part of awareness against hepatitis by some international organisation like the World Health Organisation.

I have worked in teaching and districts hospitals, which (including their laboratories) were not maintaining any kind of record related to hepatitis infection and deaths. Also, more than 50 pc patients are being treated in the private health sector which never maintains data and statistics. An undeniable fact is that we should not adopt a blind approach towards a big issue like hepatitis.

DR MUKHTAR ALI Kurram Agency