FAISALABAD: Hepatitis C is on the rise in the district as more than 16,000 out of 57,000 patients of Allied Hospital tested positive for the disease in 2014.
Such patients were screened for hepatitis C at the hospital where they were admitted for surgeries like lipratomy, laparoscopy, renal stone surgery, gynecology surgery, C-section, gallbladder surgery, ENT and eye.
Patients of stroke, renal failure, cardiac failure and various lungs-related diseases were also among them. The World Health Organization (WHO) says that nearly eight million people in Pakistan are suffering from the hepatitis C virus.
In the last one year 57,452 patients had been screened with 16,013 tested hepatitis C positive.
In January last, 5,401 patients were screened and 1,567 of them were tested positive with hepatitis C, in Feb the ratio was 5,129 and 1,397, in March 5,462 and 1,464, in April 5,325 and 1,592, in May 5,223 and 1,726, in June 5,268 and 1,647, in July 4,390 and 1,357, in Aug 6,413 and 1,578, in Sept 6,560 and 1,357, in Oct 4,127 and 987 and in Nov 4,154 and 1,341.
Allied and DHQ hospitals chief executive Prof Mohammad Ali Tirmizi said that realizing the upward trend of the disease in the district, the medical superintendents of both hospitals had been directed to make every effort for the treatment of hepatitis patients free-of-cost.
He said the Hepatitis Control Committee (HCC) had decided in a meeting held a few days back that the hospital administration would treat 200 more hepatitis C patients with conventional interferon injections.
While the non-responders (who do not respond to the conventional treatment) would be administered costly pegylated interferon injections with the financial help of Baitul Maal, Dr Tirmizi said.
He said it had been planned to establish a second block at the Liver Center in the DHQ Hospital.
Allied Hospital’s assistant professor of medicine and gastroenterology Dr Mohammad Irfan said the prevalence of hepatitis in Faisalabad was alarming as compared to other cities of Pakistan which required an effective awareness campaign and preventive measures.
He said the hospital had started free-of-cost treatment for hepatitis C patients, and currently 650 patients were under treatment.
In 2014, he said more than 1,000 patients had completed their hepatitis C course and of them 85 people had got rid of the disease.
Dr Irfan said early diagnosis and treatment of hepatitis C could save lives of the people, but most of them did not bother to get themselves screened of the disease.
He said that quacks and hakeems had been contributing a lot to pushing the people to the last stage of the liver disease.
Published in Dawn, December 27th, 2014