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Rising number of hepatitis cases in Balochistan set alarm bells ringing

QUETTA (Web Desk) As 10 to 30 out of every 100 people are affected by hepatitis in Balochistan, the World Health Organization has declared seven districts at high risk of the disease.According to Chief Minister’s Initiative for Hepatitis Free Balochistan Coordinator Dr Ismail Mirwani, hepatitis is most common in the population of Jafarabad district, which is followed by other districts where 10% to 28% of the people are infected by the disease.

Besides Jafarabad, the districts declared at being high risk of hepatitis include Naseerabad, Zhob, Loralai, Musakhel, Sibi and Barkhan.The cases being reported are those of not only Hepatitis B (caused by infected blood) but there is also a considerable number of patients whose conditions have deteriorated, giving them Hepatitis D.

The rising number of cases have set alarm bells ringing among the authorities and the public alike. Therefore, according to Dr Mirwani, a special programme will be started soon. Under the programme, people affected by the disease will be screened and vaccinated against hepatitis free of charge.

Dr Mirwani said free screening and vaccination will be started in September in the high-risk districts. Over a million people will be tested at the district headquarters hospitals, he added.However, Dr Sharbat Mandokhel of Bolan Medical Complex attributed the reason to lack of awareness on the disease. He said the knowledge on spread of and prevention from hepatitis was not common among people.

Nevertheless, experts suggest getting tattoos made on the body and taking used syringes, drips, razor blades should be avoided to prevent themselves from getting affected by the disease.On July 28, World Hepatitis Day was observed to spread awareness on the prevention of the disease. The day is important as hepatitis is said to be one of the leading causes of death globally accounting for 1.34 million deaths per year. Together, Hepatitis B and C cause 80% of liver cancer cases in the world.

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