Hepatitis on steep rise in Sindh, as preventive measures lack of govt level

Ratodero, Sindh: Hepatitis cases are on a sharp rise in upper Sindh, but the health department has no credible plan to check the spread of the disease and provide medical treatment to the already infected people.

Hospital sources said that hepatitis is continuing to rise in the upper Sindh areas but the preventive side lacks capabilities to deal with the grim scenario.

They said in the month of June 2013, as many as 1522 blood samples were tested at the Molecular Laboratory of the Chandka Medical College Hospital CMCH in Larkana out of which 602 were found infected with various categories of this disease including B, C and D. The prevalence ratio comes to alarming 39.55%.

Prof Hakim Ali Abro, Head, Department of Medical Unit-I, Chandka Medical College & Hospital says that new categories have come to surface of this dreaded disease which also includes Hepatitis E, F, G and even H which are though less hazardous than B, C, & D but unfortunately there are no lab diagnostic facilities in Larkana to detect them.

He added that it will explode like a bomb one day if immediate steps for treatment & prevention of this disease are not strictly initiated. He further said that his Ward is full with such patients and Hepatology Ward has also been established in the Hospital.

Retired Professor of Medicine Prof Akbar Solangi said that this disease has affected more than 50% of the population for which preventive measures must be taken by the government on emergency level to cope up with the emerging situation and to stop further spread. He said that treatment centers are providing facilities but it is not sufficient for which the government will have to work very hard and seriously.

It may be mentioned here that Sindh & Federal Governments are allocating huge amounts annually for treatment of the affected populace under Prime Minister and Chief Minister Programmes but both programs have so far miserably failed due to massive corruption of politically backed officers posted in these program. It is said the corrupt officers procure substandard and low quality drugs, resulting in loss to the exchequer on the one hand and death of poor people on the other. No audit of these two programs has been carried out for past five years to detect pilferage of millions of rupees.

The hospital sources said 455 cases of HBV DNA Quantitative were tested during June 2013 out of which 136 were found positive, out of 965 HCV RNA Qualitative cases as many as 409 were detected, out of 95 HDV RNA Quantitative cases as many as 53 were found positive which is more than 50% and out of 7 cases of HCV RNA Genotyping 4 were found suffering which indeed shows that Hepatitis C & D cases are on the rise. These cases belong to Larkana district, Bhirya City, Dadu, Ghotki, Jacobabad, K.N. Shah, Kambar, Kandhkot, Mehar, Mirpur Mathelo, Naushehro Feroze and Central Jail of Larkana, Jacobabad and Shikarpur Jails. 3 HBV cases were detected out of 13 from Central Prison of Larkana and out of 7 HCV cases 6 inmates were found suffering from HCV. Likewise 3 HBV cases were found containing HBV out 6 of prisoners of Shikarpur jail and 8 were found HCV positive out of 9 samples and one HDV sample was detected positive. In Jacobabad Jail 3 inmates were HBV positive out of 6 and 8 HCV were detected out of 9 samples and one was found HDV positive as only one sample was submitted for testing.

In the month of May 2013, as many as 1314 samples were tested at the same laboratory out of which 577 were found positive.

Sources at the Treatment Centre told PPI that new supplies have not been received from the Provincial Programme Manager, Hyderabad, since last over three months owing to paucity of funds hence no new case is being registered and the situation will further complicate if supplies are not restored because on treatment cases will also not be able to complete their course. They said District Health Officers in Sindh have done nothing to prevent the spread of this disease.

Government will have to take urgent steps to stop this disease otherwise majority of population in the province of Sindh would be hepatitis infected in a few coming years, warn the healthcare experts.

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