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35pc Pakistanis could contract hepatitis in 20 to 30 years

ISLAMABAD: Capital Administration and Development Division (CADD) Minister Dr Tariq Fazal Chaudhry said on Tuesday that up to 35pc of Pakistan’s population could contract hepatitis within the next 20 to 30 years.

Dr Chaudhry was speaking in response to a calling attention notice submitted by Senator retired Col Syed Tahir Hussain Mashhadi on the Senate floor.

Mr Mashhadi had asked if it was accurate that 12,000 patients have tested positive for hepatitis C at Pims during the last year – a 20pc increase compared to last year.

Dr Chaudhry said a national level programme on hepatitis is needed as the disease is spreading rapidly and could affect up to 35pc of Pakistanis in the next two or three decades. There are five types of hepatitis – hepatitis A to E – but hepatitis C is one of the 10 leading causes of death around the world. Worldwide, 350 million people are long-term carriers of hepatitis C.

Pims gastroenterologist Dr Waseem Khawaja told Dawn that 150,000 people die of hepatitis B and C every year in Pakistan, while 90pc of otherwise healthy patients can be cleared of hepatitis B in six months without treatment.

“People should ensure their children are vaccinated against hepatitis. Cleanliness and sterilised instruments also play a vital role in preventing the disease. Unscreened blood should not be used, and disposal instruments should be used at beauty salons and for acupuncture,” he added.

Courtesy : Dawn News



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