Saturday May 18, 2024

19,996 persons screened for HBV, HCV

By Muhammad Qasim
August 26, 2023

Rawalpindi:To date, a total of 19,996 persons have been screened for hepatitis B and C through a door-to-door campaign in as many as four union councils of Rawal Town of which 413 have been found positive for hepatitis recording the prevalence rate of hepatitis as 2.06 per cent that is alarming particularly because over 65 per cent of the cases tested positive are newly detected cases of hepatitis.

The population in union councils 10, 11, 14 and 15 is being screened for hepatitis B and C under Local Hepatitis Elimination and Prevention (LHEAP) project launched exclusively in Rawalpindi district in coalition with Global Hepatitis Elimination Task Force on July 10. Under the project, a total of 5,300 persons have so far been vaccinated against hepatitis B.

The LHEAP has set a target of screening a total of 100,000 persons free of cost for hepatitis B and C in the four union councils. The persons found positive for the infection would be given free of cost treatment at the LHEAP primary health care unit, established at Municipal Medical Centre along 5th Road in Satellite Town, the Red Crescent Complex.

Data collected by ‘The News’ on Friday has revealed that out of 19,996 persons so far screened, as many as 314 have been found positive for hepatitis C and 99 for hepatitis B. It is alarming that out of 413 patients tested positive for hepatitis under the project, 270 are newly detected patients.

It is worth mentioning here that in the first phase of the project, in 10 UCs in Rawal Town from July 10 to 17 this year, the LHEAP screened a total of 10,166 individuals and found 1.97 per cent of the covered population suffering from hepatitis while in the second phase so far, a total of 9,830 persons screened of which 2.16 per cent were tested positive for the infection in UCs 10, 11, 14 and 15.

We have already started providing free of cost treatment to all those who have confirmed positive for hepatitis B or C after the screening, said the Project Director Dr. Anser Ishaq while talking to ‘The News’. To date, as many as 1,142 persons have refused to avail the facility of screening at their doorsteps.