Rise of hepatitis B and C virus in Pakistan paints a dark picture, says expert

KARACHI: Health experts have stated that the hepatitis B and C virus is gaining intensity and is on the rise. As many as 1.45 million people are afflicted with the virus.

Health experts made these claims at a joint-seminar organised by The Express Media Group and Getz Pharma. The seminar was attended by Getz Pharma Managing Director Khalid Mehmood, Aga Khan University and Hospital’s Professor Syed Wasim Jaffery, Dr Lubna Kamani, Dr Muhammad Sadiq Achakzai, Dr Zahid Azam and Dr Saleh Muhammad Channa to spread awareness about the hepatitis virus.

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Addressing the audience, the Mehmood said that Getz Pharma is the only pharmaceutical company in the Pakistani pharma industry where world-class medicinal work is being carried out and is certified by the World Health Organisation.

He said that an advisory board and research experts informs the company of the latest advancements taking place in health and medicine sectors around the world.

He added that Getz Pharma’s basic principles were based on quality and the health of the people. Prof Jaffery said that the intensity of the hepatitis B and C virus in the country paints a dark picture and the increasing number of patients in the country is a cause for concern. He said the precautionary vaccine for hepatitis B was available in Pakistan while treatment for hepatitis C virus was also available.

He added that a newborn should be vaccinated immediately after birth to eliminate chances of contracting hepatitis B.

He said that the treatment of hepatitis C patients was now easily possible with the available medicines.

Prof Jaffery advised patients not to buy any medicines without consulting their doctors as the wrong medicine could be harmful for their health.

He said that doctors should be contacted if anyone contracts the virus as carelessness and lack of attention can prove to be very harmful.

Dr Kamani said that the virus is easily contracted by persons aged between 15 and 40 years. She said that this virus is mostly found in Asian and Gulf countries. She said that hepatitis E can be cured if proper precautionary measures are taken, but it can be dangerous among women during pregnancy.

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Bolan Medical College’s Dr Achakzai said that hepatitis D only occurs in people who are also patients of hepatitis B and the symptoms are the same. To remain safe from the D virus, one has to stay protected from hepatitis B, Dr Achakzai said.

DOW International College’s Dr Azam praised the seminar and said that there are 60% chances of contracting hepatitis B. There might be no cure for this virus, however, one can stay safe from it by getting a vaccine right after birth, Dr Azam shared.

Dr Channa said that hepatitis is a disease of the liver and hepatitis A is caused by consumption of polluted water and food and 96% of Pakistanis somehow contract this disease. 

Published in The Express Tribune, July 28th, 2018.

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    Original news : https://tribune.com.pk/story/1767908/1-rise-hepatitis-b-c-virus-pakistan-paints-dark-picture-says-expert/