The Punjab government will mark 'Hepatitis Awareness and Screening Week' starting from May 22 to 27 throughout the province of Punjab. During this week, screening, awareness and vaccination camps would be set up in all DHQ hospitals during which screening and vaccination of Hepatitis-B would be carried out apart from registration of Hepatitis-C patients.
Health professionals told Business Recorder that thousands of people around Punjab have contracted Hepatitis due to their unhygienic lifestyle, contaminated drinking water and involvement in illicit relations. "People also catch this disease by getting their haircut with unsterilised tools and drinking contaminated water," they said. Appreciating marking of the week, they called for chalking out an extensive awareness drive campaign for the rural areas and also working classes, otherwise the number of hepatitis carriers would increase manifold.
The data collected by the Punjab government found that truck/bus drivers as well as cleaners were highly prone to the disease of hepatitis. The Provincial AIDS Control Programme (PACP) is taking lead by conducting a month-long testing and screening campaign of trucks and bus drivers. Camps have already been established in 11 districts including Lahore, Gujranwala, Sargodha, Sheikhupura, Faisalabad, Okara, Multan, Muzaffargarh, D.G. Khan, Rahimyar Khan and Sadiqabad.
PACP Director Dr Adnan Zafar Khan said under the PACP, free of cost medication, treatment and counselling services to all HIV and hepatitis patients is being extended in Punjab. "I know the situation is alarming and we are trying to reach out to marginalised groups to ensure that no new people are infected with HIV or Hepatitis," he said.
Copyright Business Recorder, 2017