KARACHI: The Pakistan Medical Association (PMA) recently released an official statement, hailing the Sindh Government for passing the Sindh Prohibition of Preparation, Manufacturing, Storage, Sale, and Use of Gutka and Manpuri Bill, 2019 in the Sindh Assembly. The bill would ban the import, export, manufacture, sale, and purchase of Gutka, Manpuri, and their derivatives in the Sindh province.
Dr S M Qaisar Sajjad, Secretary-General, Pakistan Medical Association (Centre) in his statement noted that the legislation was a longstanding demand of the PMA and the ENT and Head and Neck Surgeons of the province. This finally had been fulfilled. The strict implementation of this law would decrease the cases of oral cancer and sub-mucous fibrosis (SMF), which were geometrically increasing in Sindh.
Qaiser explained, “Sub-mucous fibrosis is a non-treatable disease in which the mucosa of the oral cavity becomes fibrosed, which results in the limited mouth opening and severe burning in the mouth as well. This ailment is prevalent in teenagers, particularly school and college-going students.”
Dr Qaisar Sajjad said that the PMA had been continuously raising its voice for the prevention of oral cancer and sub-mucous fibrosis. Chalia and Gutka were severely hazardous items, which were readily available in the market. Qaisar told that they were prepared using artificial colours and sugar. Artificial colours and betel nut (chalia) juice were known carcinogens (cancer-causing chemicals) and the primary cause behind oral cancer and sub-mucous fibrosis. The Pakistan Medical Association appreciated the Sindh Government and called for the strict implementation of this law.
He also reiterated his demand to put a ban on the import of all forms of chalia, which would reduce the cases of oral cancer, sub-mucous fibrosis, cancer of esophagus and stomach, and more.