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Saturday July 20, 2024

3.6pc of screened population tests positive for hepatitis in 9 UCs’

By Muhammad Qasim
June 17, 2024
This representational image shows a test tube with the name Hepatitis C on it. — Pixabay/File
This representational image shows a test tube with the name Hepatitis C on it. — Pixabay/File

Rawalpindi: A record high 3.6 per cent of the screened population in as many as nine union councils of Rawalpindi has been tested positive for hepatitis making the situation much alarming as majority of the patients tested positive for the infection were unaware of their status.

Under the Localised Hepatitis Elimination and Prevention Project (LHEAP), the highest rate of prevalence of hepatitis has been recorded among the screened population in the Fauji Colony area near Pirwadhai that is around seven per cent. It is worth mentioning here that the LHEAP project was launched exclusively in Rawalpindi district on July 10 last year initially in four union councils falling under the jurisdiction of Rawal Town that was later expanded to nine union councils of the district including UCs 6, 8, 10, 11, 14, 15, 32, 33 and 116.

The data collected by ‘The News’ on Saturday has revealed that out of a total of 42580 persons screened for hepatitis B and C through a door-to-door campaign in as many as nine union councils from July 10, 2023 to June 14 this year, as many as 1,521 persons have been tested positive for hepatitis apart from as many as eight pregnant mothers reported to have been infected with hepatitis B or C.

According to details, 1,234 persons have so far been tested positive for hepatitis C under the LHEAP project while 267 have been found positive for hepatitis B virus. As many as 20 persons have been tested positive for both HCV and HBV. It is important that the prevalence of hepatitis among the screened population has been recorded as the highest, 3.6 per cent, this time in the last 11 months.

The LHEAP has set a target of providing facilities of screening and treatment free of cost to those found positive for hepatitis B or C. The persons found positive for the infection are being 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.

The LHEAP has already started providing screening facilities at the Red Crescent Complex and the number of patients being screened in the last month is higher because of the walk-in patients, said Chief Executive Officer LHEAP Dr. Anser Ishaq while talking to ‘The News’ on Saturday. Anyone who wants to get screened for hepatitis can visit the Red Crescent Complex from 8:00 a.m. in the morning to 4:00 p.m. in the working days, he added.