RAWALPINDI/TAXILA: Vice Chancellor of Rawalpindi Medical University (RMU) Prof Dr Mohammad Umer on Wednesday termed hepatitis a silent killer and stressed the need for taking preventive measures to eliminate it by 2030.

He was addressing an event held at Holy Family Hospital to mark World Hepatitis Day.

The event was organised by Rawalpindi Medical University Centre for Liver and Digestive Diseases aimed at launching an awareness campaign and establishing a screening camp at Holy Family Hospital.

The day is observed every year to create awareness among people about the risk, prevention and mode of transmission of hepatitis.

An awareness walk was also held on the premises of Holy Family Hospital.

RMU vice chancellor for preventive measures to eliminate disease by 2030

Rawalpindi Medical University Vice Chancellor Prof. Dr. Muhammad Umer highlighted the importance of the theme, “prevention is better than cure”.

The awareness walk was started from Rawalpindi Medical College and ended at administrative block of Holy Family Hospital.

Doctors from different specialties, medical students, paramedical staff and patients participated in the walk.

The participants were holding banners and distributed informative brochures and booklets, highlighting the importance of preventive measures and screening in local language.

Large banners with similar information were also displayed in all the three teaching hospitals of Rawalpindi.

“We have planned to create awareness among public on importance of screening and treatment of hepatitis through print, social and electronic media as part of Hepatitis Free Pakistan,” said Dr Mohammad Umar.

He said the basic aim of this programme was to eradicate hepatitis from Pakistan and create awareness among the people.

He said that RMU had initiated the research and provided all the information about precautionary measures to the people besides providing treatment to the patients.

After the awareness walk, a free screening and vaccination camp was also organised in which 250 people were screened for hepatitis and people were provided vaccination for hepatitis.

Holy Family Hospital Medical Superintendent Dr Shazia Zeb assured that medicines and treatment was available at the hospital.

Medical Specialist Dr Tayyab Saeed Akhtar highlighted the benefits of early diagnosis and early treatment of the disease to the patients and the people present there.

In Taxila, a seminar to mark World Hepatitis Day was jointly organised by the district health department and the population welfare department.

Addressing the seminar, District Health Authority Chief Executive Dr Jawwad Ellahi said according to a survey, more than 15 million people in Pakistan live with hepatitis B or C, however, an overwhelming majority of the population is unaware of ways to prevent, treat and cure the viral infection.

He said that lack of awareness has resulted in the disease being labelled as a ‘silent killer’. Viral hepatitis has been a threat to population in Pakistan for years as on average, it claims nearly 150,000 lives every year which means that over 400 people are losing their lives to hepatitis every day.

Pakistan has the second highest number of viral hepatitis patients after China, he said, adding the World Health Organisation (WHO) has set a target of eliminating hepatitis B and C by 2030.

Integrated Reproductive, Maternal, Neonatal and Child Health District Officer Dr Saeed Akhter spoke about vaccination for the various types of hepatitis and how they spread.

He said that there are five types of hepatitis, categorised between A to E, adding, Pakistan is among 11 countries of the world where 50pc of the global burden of chronic hepatitis exists.

Hepatitis C is the most dangerous of all, causing one million deaths around the world and the ninth leading cause of death, he said, adding high risk groups are drug users, healthcare workers, newborns to hepatitis B-infected mothers, household contacts of infected people, persons who frequently use blood or blood products and those with multiple sexual partners.

Published in Dawn, July 29th, 2021

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