By Our Staff Reporter
Karachi: Sindh Chief Minister Syed Qaim Ali Shah has vowed to make Sindh a `hepatitis-free province’ by 2018.
Chairing a meeting of senior officials, CM said, “You are professionals and I hope that you will take necessary measures to make hepatitis-free Sindh by the end of my government’s tenure.”
Qaim Ali Shah exhorted the officials of health department to set up vaccination camps, especially in high risk areas, and arrange screening of hepatitis patients by mobilizing teams at grass roots level.
The meeting was attended, among others, by Sindh Senior Minister for Finance Syed Murad Ali Shah, Health Minister Jam Mehtab Dahar, CM’s Adviser on Information Maula Bux Chandio, Principal Secretary Alamuddin Bullo, ACS (Development) Aijaz Ali Khan, Finance Secretary Sohail Rajput, Health Secretary Saeed Mangnijo and head of health department’s vertical programme.
According to a statement, the meeting was informed that when Rs2.7 billion Hepatitis Prevention and Control Programme was launched on the directives of the chief minister, there were around three million hepatitis patients in the province and they included 2.5 per cent hepatitis B and 4.9pc hepatitis C patients. The programme that began in January, 2009 was extended further for another three years at a cost of Rs3.315bn.
Health Secretary Saeed Mangnejo said that, so far, around 8,608,400 people have been administered hepatitis B vaccines across the province and they included 2.9 million general public, 1.9m high-risk population, 170,001 newborn as first dose, 87,538 inmates, 3,488,708 schoolchildren, 194,000 in the flood-hit areas, 6,540 hemophilic academics dialysis patients and 10,201 others.
Programme Manager Dr Khaliq Shaikh said that of about 462,365 patients treated, so far, 154,405 were hepatitis C patients, 14,636 hepatitis B and 3,638 of hepatitis D patients, while 26,418 patients are under treatment and of them 17,890 were hepatitis C patients, 88,347 of B and 181 of hepatitis D.
Moreover, 300,000 schoolchildren were vaccinated in September and October, 2015 and their third doze is due in February, he said, adding that 2,165 inmates were also vaccinated recently.
Mr Dahar said that under the programme, 20.7m auto-destructible (ADs) have been provided to districts to promote use of these syringes.
Besides, with a view to creating awareness about the disease among public, 154 informative sessions were conducted in jails and sub-jails of the province whereas there is plan to establish molecular lab at Nawabshah and new six centres at taluka hospitals of different districts.