TANDO MOHAMMAD KHAN: Despite huge allocations to providing free of cost treatment to the hepatitis patients under the ‘Chief Minister’s Initiative for hepatitis-free Sindh’, the authorities failed to run a successful awareness campaign, provision of medicines and treatment for the patients to avail the facility in lower Sindh.
The Sindh government has started providing complete financial support to hepatitis patients in regard to costly polymerase chain reaction (PCR) tests, which help detect the presence of the hepatitis virus in a human body.
The data collected from T.M.Khan, Sujawal, Thatta, and Badin districts of the lower Sindh reveal that cases of Hepatitis B and C have been recording more than 50 per cent relapse cases mainly owing to lack of awareness among the patients, provision of medicines and treatment at District Headquarter Hospitals (DHQs) and Taluka Headquarter Hospitals (THQs). The patients require to be tested for virus every six months after the treatment, according to health experts.
“We have been recording relapses between 60 to 70 per cent of hepatitis patients owing to lack of awareness among people. The people are under misconception that negative polymerase chain reaction (PCR) means that hepatitis C virus has completely been treated which is not the case,” a senior Dr. Kishore Kumar told TheNation.
Some of the hospitals, the officials said, were opposing awareness campaigns, arguing that the patients would come in droves and it would not be possible to handle them. “It is ridiculous because every hospital has to implement the government policy and programmes,” said other officials, adding that the government should immediately begin an awareness campaign to inform the people about the causative and preventive measures besides informing the people that free treatment was available at the district headquarters hospitals of every district.
Most affected areas village Phalkara, village Kario Ganhwar, Ali Mehar Chandio, Junna, Wali Muhammad Malkani, Talhar, Rajo Khanani, Baro Khan Sahib, Butra Memon, Jinhan Soomro, Saeed Matto, Bulri Shah Karim, Jhok, Tando Ghulam Hyder, Matli, Tando Bago, Darro, Mirpur Bathoro, Jatti, Thatta, Tando Saindad, Saeedpur, Hussain Khan Leghari etc were on the verge of outbreak of the diseases too, said Dr. Ameer Ali Channa, TM.Khan.
The problem has largely remained unaddressed due to non-availability of adequate screening service against hepatitis at a taluka level. Besides, a lack of up-to-mark molecular biology labs and inadequate supply of costly medicines to treat the eligible patients of hepatitis B and C at health establishments remained major challenges in the public sector.
“We can curb hepatitis by making obligatory upon the hospitals to use sterilised instruments in operations theaters and avoid reuse of disposable syringes in emergency departments of the hospitals,” he said.
He informed that Hepatitis-B was a virus which could not be transmitted through food, water or contaminated clothes but only through blood. About Hepatitis-C, he said, that it could also be transmitted through blood transfusion.
About hepatic coma, he informed, that when liver fails working, certain toxic materials reached brain and caused coma. The death ratio was 90 per cent. Cirrhosis was complication of continuation of hepatitis B and C.
He said that it was a pre-cancer condition and no treatment was available for the condition worldwide. As majority of population was poor and was unable to reach to good doctors and they feel prey to quacks.
These quacks working in the various parts of the districts were the main cause of spread of the disease as they did not use disposable syringes and instruments.