KARACHI – 111 people die each day from complications of hepatitis B and C in Pakistan, which are largely preventable and completely curable diseases, but unfortunately most people in the country are not aware of being infected by these lethal viruses that are extremely silent killers, said Friday gastroenterologists and herpetologists.
They said that viral hepatitis could become "second polio for Pakistan" while the entire world was planning its elimination by 2030 but in Pakistan, most people do not even know that they have been infected from hepatitis B and C, and adding they fear that severe travel restrictions could be imposed on the Pakistanis if viral hepatitis was not controlled in Pakistan by 2030.
"More than 40,000 people die each year in Pakistan due to complications of Hepatitis B and C including liver cancer, which means that 1
The press conference and a public outreach seminar were organized by the Pakistani Society for the Study of Liver Diseases (PSSLD) to celebrate World Hepatitis Day 2018, which was attended by leading gastroenterologists and hepatologists among to which the prof. Wasim Jaffri, Prof. Zaigham Abbass, prof. Saleh Muhammad Channa, the prof. Lubna Kamani, the dott. Abdul Qayyum Memon, dr. Bashir Ahmed Shaikh and others.
Prof Saeed Hamid, who is the former president of PSSLD, said that hepatitis B and C kill more people than combined deaths due to tuberculosis (TB), dengue fever, malaria and HIV / AIDS in Pakistan, saying thankfully, most of the deaths due to hepatitis B and C were 100% preventable and curable.
"Hepatitis C spreads through infected blood and if we make people aware of its transmission, this disease can be prevented.The transfusion of infected blood is another cause of its transmission, so if the projected blood is transfused, hepatitis B and C infections can also be prevented, "said prof. Saeed Hamid and added that hepatitis B could also be prevented through vaccination, which was now part of the country's immunization program.
An eminent gastroenterologist also informed that hepatitis B and C were 100% curable and treatable diseases now due to the emergence of very effective drugs, saying that the drugs for the treatment of & # 39; Hepatitis B and C were available at fairly affordable prices in Pakistan, while most of these drugs were also of international standards.
"The goal of the world is the elimination of viral hepatitis by 2030 as polio from the whole world and there is no reason why it can not be eliminated. the challenge is to find the missing million as most of the infected people are not aware of being infected with Hepatitis B or C viruses, "he added.
Speaking on this occasion, prof. Zaigham Abbass of Ziauddin Hospital Karachi said 4.5 to five million people in Pakistan were infected with hepatitis B alone, but added that the rate of hepatitis B infection was very high in some districts of Baluchistan where 9-10 districts, more than 10% of people were infected with the hepatitis B virus while in 15 districts of Sindh and Punjab, more than 5% of people were infected with this viral hepatitis.
"The only option available to combat this threat is vaccination against hepatitis B and fortunately this infection is not only preventable through vaccination but can also be treated with modern medicine", he added .
For the sake of time, Professor Zaigham Abbass urged the authorities to start administering the first dose of vaccination against hepatitis B on the first day of birth of the child, stating that the chances of infectious children from hepatitis B to become minimal.