KARACHI- Secretary, Sindh Blood Transfusion Authority (SBTA) Dr. Zahid Hasan Ansari stated that the Nucleic Acid Testing (NAT) technique will be introduced in the Regional Blood Transfusion Centers (RBTCs) of Sindh, to reduce the risk of blood transmitted diseases and necessary directives will be issued soon.
While addressing the audience at an Awareness Seminar held at Husaini Haematology and Oncology Trust (HHOT), Dr. Ansari announced that, “Sindh Blood Transfusion Authority will advice regional blood centres to adopt NAT in blood donors screening, to minimize the risk of blood transmitted diseases.”
He also informed, 2 out of 4 RBTCs are already functional in Sindh, while the remaining 2 will be operational soon. He added that, NAT is a highly sensitive and advanced technique which has reduced the window period of TTIs so to increase the safety of Blood Transfusion.
Program Manager, Hepatitis Prevention and Control Program, Sindh, Dr. Zulfiqar Dharejo was invited as the Chief guest of awareness program held to mark World Hepatitis Day. Other speakers included, Prof Syed M. Irfan, Dr. Sarfaraz Jafry, Dr. Agha Umer Daraz Khan, Dr. Ashraf Memon, Mr. Asad Ali and Syed Jibran Ahmed.
Prof Syed Muhammad Irfan talked about Thalassaemia and its diagnosis, treatment and prevention. He said that blood screening is a vital process for survival of thalassaemia patients. Techniques of screening of blood donors should be done at high standards like NAT, being the most modern tool.
Dr. Agha Umer Daraz Khan added to the discussion by stating NAT as a molecular technique for screening blood donations to reduce the risk of transfusion transmitted infections (TTIs) in recipients. This technique was introduced in the developed countries during the late 1990s and early 2000s.
Japanese Red Cross Society started NAT screening for HBV, HCV, and HIV since July, 1999 while Australia started it in June 2000. Almost 33 countries in the world have implemented NAT for human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), 27 countries for hepatitis B virus (HBV), and most of the developed countries are using NAT for HBV, HCV, HIV+1 and HIV-11.
Dr. Agha Umer also urged the Sindh Blood Transfusion Authority (SBTA) to advice all the registered blood banks to start using this latest technique to provide safest blood to their recipients.
Dr. Ashraf Memon taught the doctors to interpret the markers of hepatitis with special emphasis on HBV.
Dr. Sarfaraz Jafry delivered a comprehensive presentation, “Vein to Vein blood transfusion,” which was based on safe blood transfusion. He explained that the blood components should be used rationally, and irrational use of blood transfusion would create complications for the patient. He stressed upon conducting mass awareness sessions for the general public as well as healthcare providers.
Honorable Chief guest, Dr. Zulfiqar Dharejo informed that the hepatitis program has started a 3- months therapy program for patients to provide them with treatment.
Hepatitis patients are being provided free diagnosis and complete necessary treatment. As many as 75 sites are functioning in the province, where facilities of screening and diagnosis, PCR, etc, are being provided, free of charge.