230,000 hepatitis B patients in Sindh, PA told

Published December 20, 2019
Details show that there are 19,109 patients in Sanghar, 19,092 in Ghotki, 16,668 in Khairpur and 14,998 in Shaheed Benazirabad. — Dawn/File
Details show that there are 19,109 patients in Sanghar, 19,092 in Ghotki, 16,668 in Khairpur and 14,998 in Shaheed Benazirabad. — Dawn/File

KARACHI: There are over 230,000 hepatitis B patients in the province, of which 31,667 patients are in Karachi alone, it emerged on Thursday during the Question Hour session in the Sindh Assembly.

Additionally, Health Minister Dr Azra Fazal Pechuho told the lawmakers that there were 230,095 patients of hepatitis C across the province.

Grand Democratic Alliance’s Arif Mustafa Jatoi on behalf of GDA member Nusrat Sehar Abbasi had asked the minister to give details of medicines provided to each district of the province under ‘Chief Minister Hepatitis Programme’ along with number of patients.

Furnishing a statement and replies to the lawmakers’ written and verbal queries, the health minister stated that as many as 219,366 patients of hepatitis C and 24,615 patients of hepatitis B were given treatment under the programme.

She also provided the district-wise number of patients.

The details showed that there were 19,109 in Sanghar, 19,092 in Ghotki, 16,668 in Khairpur and 14,998 in Shaheed Benazirabad.

Replying to a question asked by GDA’s Jatoi, the minister said that there were 797 basic health units across the province and of them 775 were operational.

She said that 22 BHUs were not operational due to various reasons, including lack of infrastructure and staff.

Responding to another written question raised by Mr Jatoi on behalf of Ms Abbasi, the minister said that there was no development proposal assisted by Asian Development Bank during 2015 to 2018.

When asked by Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf member Adeeba Hassan, the minister said that there was a facility of cure against snake bite and the required medicine was available at government hospitals in Tharparkar.

She further said that a total of 432 cases of snake bite were treated from Jan 1, 2019 to Oct 31, 2019 in Tharparkar.

Replying to another question asked by Ms Hassan, the health minister said that one of the major causes of spread of hepatitis B and C was unsafe medical practices by unqualified doctors.

She said that the Sindh Healthcare Commission was established under an act to ban quackery in all its forms and manifestations.

Dr Pechuho said that the commission was launched in Feb 2018 and after procedural compliance stern action was big taken against quacks to improve the service delivery system of the province.

She said that legal action against identified quacks was still under way and the Anti-Quackery Directorate of the Sindh Healthcare Commission had carried out inspection of as many as 2,822 healthcare establishments till Sept 2019.

The minister said that so far 2,241 healthcare establishments had been sealed under Section 39 (g) of the SHCC Regulation for practicing quackery.

Besides, she said, 581 warning notices were issued to non-compliant medical practitioners for compliance as per SHCC Act and regulation.

Separately, she said that there was a shortage of staff, including specialists, doctors, lady doctors, woman nurses in the government hospitals. “We have written to the public service commission for appointment of doctors and to the National Testing Service for appointment of nurses,” she added.

Published in Dawn, December 20th, 2019

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