14 million People exposes to Hepatitis B & C in Pakistan”, says Dr Abbas. In order to spread awareness about different types of hepatitis, Dr Ziauddin Hospital organized an interactive public awareness session themed “Find the Missing Millions” to mark the World Hepatitis Day. Prof Zaigham Abbas, Head of the department of Gastroenterology, Ziauddin University & Hospital focused on the hurdles in hepatitis cure and the importance of screening and early diagnosis in his informative lecture.
While addressing the awareness session Dr Zaigham Abbas said that a careful estimate number of hepatitis patients in Pakistan show that around 14million people have been exposed to Hepatitis B & C. However, the number of hepatitis-infected persons is much higher in Sindh & Baluchistan. Every fifth death in Sindh & Baluchistan is because of hepatitis B & C or complications caused by it. Approximately 20% to 25% of the population in some locations of both provinces is suffering with hepatitis B or C.
Further, he said that fatty liver disease is becoming another major health issue in Pakistan. Nationwide, more than 10 million people are living with viral hepatitis unaware. Without finding the diagnosed and linking them to care, they will continue to suffer, and lives will be lost. There is an utmost need to increase the awareness of people about the risk factors, prevention & treatment of hepatitis B & C.
During the awareness session a documentary movie about the hepatitis control was shown by Prof. Zaigham Abbas, highlighted the mode of spread of Hepatitis B & C in Pakistan. Almost 5% of population is suffering from Hepatitis C & 2.5% from Hepatitis B.
According to Prof Abbas, there are five main hepatitis viruses, as types A, B, C, D and E. And unluckily all five hepatitis viruses are present in Pakistan. As it is quite obvious that hepatitis virus directly attack patients liver and if liver will not work properly, there are many chances of patient to suffer with disease like Ascites (fluid in the abdomen), Portal hypertension (Increase blood pressure in liver sinusoids), Cirrhosis (shrunken liver), liver cancer and kidney failure.
By explaining safety measurements of hepatitis he exclaimed that we can save ourselves by following principles of health hygiene. For hepatitis “A” & “E” we should drink home boiled water. Before eating vegetables and fruits wash them properly. Biggest cause of hepatitis B C & D is the transfer of blood from one body to another. We should avoid using sterilized equipment, used syringe and shaving razor .We should avoid touching blood or blood drops of other hepatitis victim.
Prof Abbas stated that we need to end this hepatitis related taboo .we can do this by training medical staff on early detection of the disease and by providing proper guidelines to the public.
Earlier, an awareness walk was organized to sensitize the public about the disease. The event was attended by large number of participants including medical students, doctors, paramedical staff from different universities & hospitals, NGOs, social activist and general public. Free screening of Hepatitis B & C along with blood test, liver function test & ultrasound liver was arranged. Those who were negative on screening were advised for Hepatitis B vaccination.