LAHORE: A recent study has reported shockingly high prevalence of hepatitis C and diabetes mellitus in Lahore’s police force.

As for a majority of the police personnel, being diagnosed with the two major diseases was a shock, the test reports raised questions about their unhealthy living conditions and job stress.

The authorities planned to evaluate health status of Lahore police personnel through blood screening procedure, an official told Dawn seeking anonimity.

He said the reports issued by reputed laboratories showed that 82 out of 1,757 police officials tested were diagnosed with chronic hepatitis C virus, while 199 of them had diabetes mellitus.

It was yet to be determined how many of the tested personnel needed liver transplant to survive, he said, adding that for the purpose the department would require to provide them best medical facilities to save their lives.

The official said initially the police department had planned blood screening of a certain number of officials for a few diseases only. However, on finding high prevalence of the two diseases, it decided to conduct screening of the entire 30,000 strong force in the city, he added.

The official said the blood screening tests were conducted for four consecutive days.

Some other diseases, including Malaria, were also detected in some officials though the number was negligible, he said.

Commenting on the issue, operations DIG Dr Haider Ashraf said the basic purpose of blood screening camp was to address the health issues of the front-line force of the city.

He said the number of complaints about the stressful work environment and living conditions of the field force had been increasing.

To address the issue, the police department has established a state-of-the-art hospital for its employees at the Police Lines, Qila Gujar Singh.

The department planned blood screening of the force to know the personnel’s latest health status.

“The alarming ratio of the diseases shows the workplace stress can have a range of adverse effects on health posing an increased risk of hypertension, depression, cardio-vascular diseases and diabetes”, Dr Ashraf said.

He said the department had discussed in detail the study carried out on the basis of the test reports to devise a prevention plan.

“Keeping in view the situation, we have vaccinated 1,632 policemen against hepatitis out of all those screened at the camps”, Dr Haider said, adding that more steps were being considered to provide the policemen suffering from HCV advanced treatment.

Published in Dawn, December 24th, 2017

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