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PMA calls for urgent steps to combat Hepatitis-C

By Our Correspondent
April 18, 2024
The Pakistan Medical Association (PMA) building seen in this image. — Facebook/Pakistan Medical Association Karachi/File
The Pakistan Medical Association (PMA) building seen in this image. — Facebook/Pakistan Medical Association Karachi/File

LAHORE: The Pakistan Medical Association (PMA) expresses deep concern over the recent report released by the World Health Organisation (WHO), stating that Pakistan has the highest number of Hepatitis-C infection in the world.

This alarming statistic demands urgent action from the government in order to effectively combat this public health crisis. In a statement issued here Wednesday, PMA (Centre) Secretary General Dr Abdul Ghafoor Shoro said that Hepatitis C is a viral infection that affects millions of people worldwide, causing severe liver damage and posing a significant burden on healthcare systems. The current prevalence of Hepatitis C in Pakistan is unacceptable and calls for immediate intervention to ensure the well-being of our citizens. The PMA demanded the government launch an extensive public awareness campaign to educate individuals about the causes, modes of transmission, prevention, and available treatment options for Hepatitis. This campaign should use multiple platforms, such as television, radio, print media, social media, and community outreach programmes.

It demanded the government establish easily accessible and affordable screening and testing facilities across the country. Early detection is critical in preventing the further spread of the disease and ensuring timely treatment for those infected. It is imperative that the government ensures the availability and affordability of necessary medications for Hepatitis C treatment. By negotiating with pharmaceutical companies and implementing subsidies, the government can make treatment accessible to all affected individuals. Besides, investing in healthcare infrastructure and facilities, particularly in rural areas, is vital. Strict enforcement of infection control measures, including safe injection practices in healthcare settings, must be a priority. Adequate sterilisation of medical equipment and promoting the use of disposable syringes and needles will significantly reduce the risk of new infections.

It also demanded the government support and encourage research initiatives focused on Hepatitis C prevention, treatment, and eradication. Investing in research will lead to improved strategies, better healthcare practices, and ultimately, the eradication of this disease.