Islamabad: Pakistan is facing a considerably high number of cases of viral hepatitis B and C, Dawn reported on Friday.
According to reports around 15 million people in Pakistan are believed to be infected with viral hepatitis C and another five million with viral hepatitis B.
Pakistan President Dr. Arif Alvi said in this regard that according to the World Health Organisation (WHO), one person dies every 30 seconds due to a hepatitis-related illness.
In the Eastern Mediterranean Region (EMR), 80pc of the hepatitis C disease burden lies in Egypt and Pakistan. As of 2021 estimates, one in every 13 adult Pakistanis is hepatitis C positive. There are about 9,775,000 people living with hepatitis C and around 27,000 die each year due to its complications.
Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif in a statement said the government had set a target to eliminate the disease by 2030 and was making arrangements to carry out screening to identify the patients.
Gastroenterologist Dr. Waseem Khawaja while talking to Dawn said: “There are five types of hepatitis, from A to E. However, Hepatitis C is the leading cause of death all over the world.”
He said people should ensure vaccination of hepatitis for their children. Cleanliness and sterilized instruments play a vital role in avoiding the disease. Unscreened blood and blood products should not be used, he said.
Dr. Khawaja said polymerase chain reaction (PCR) and genotyping were the main tests to decide whether the patient needed treatment or not and for how long the treatment was required.