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PM orders resumption of hepatitis programme

Updated June 16, 2019

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Prime Minister Imran Khan ordered the resumption of the Prime Minister’s Programme for Prevention and Control of Hepatitis C on Saturday. — AFP/File
Prime Minister Imran Khan ordered the resumption of the Prime Minister’s Programme for Prevention and Control of Hepatitis C on Saturday. — AFP/File

ISLAMABAD: Prime Minister Imran Khan ordered the resumption of the Prime Minister’s Programme for Prevention and Control of Hepatitis C on Saturday.

The directions came during a meeting of the National Task Force for Health, which was established to look into health-related issues and make a strategy to provide health facilities to the public.

The Prime Minister’s Hepatitis Prevention and Control Programme was in place across the country, but was abolished after the 18th Amendment devolved health to the provinces.

When contacted, Special Assistant to the Prime Minister on National Health Services Dr Zafar Mirza said that the prime minister was briefed on the hepatitis C situation in Pakistan.

“Due to which Mr Khan directed to come with a line of action within a fortnight so that the programme would be started again,” he said.

There are five types of hepatitis, from A to E, but hepatitis C is a leading cause of death all over the world. According to estimates, more than 12 million people within Pakistan suffer from hepatitis B or C and each year brings about 150,000 new cases.

The disease is called a silent killer because many patients remain undiagnosed and untreated for years before developing complications and dying.

Major risk factors for the transmission of hepatitis B and C include therapeutic injections, syringe reuse, surgery, improper sterilisation of invasive medical devices, blood transfusion, hospitalisation and the sharing of razors by barbers.

Published in Dawn, June 16th, 2019