ISLAMABAD Federal Minister for Health, Information and Broadcasting Sherry Rehman has directed the ministry of Health to revisit the National Program for Prevention And Control Of Hepatitis In Pakistan by shifting the paradigm and focusing more on the expansion of treatment facilities to the deserving patients. She said this while addressing the follow up briefing after the inquiry she had ordered a few days back. The inquiry was ordered by the minister after the appearance of some reports in the newspapers about some flaws in the programme.
The Minister was informed by the National Program Manager, Dr. Sharif Ahmad Khan that estimated prevalence of Hepatitis B and C is 3-4% (6 million infections) and 5-6(7.5 million infections) respectively. However, a comprehensive survey in this regard has just been concluded by the Ministry of Health and its results will be made public very soon. This is a first survey of its kind in Asia.
She was further told that all distinct five types of hepatitis viruses from A to E are prevalent in the country. But the overall social and economic impact of chronic hepatitis B and C are devastating. The performance of the National Program for Prevention and Control of Hepatitis was also presented. The program was launched in august 2005 .It has two aspects of prevention and treatment. Since its launch around 23,000 patients have been treated and 2, 85,630 have been vaccinated under this programme.
The Minister said that the scope of this programme needs to be expanded and with the help of Provincial and District governments qualified pathologists and physicians will be appointed in all district headquarter hospitals. Logistic and human resource system, particularly cold chain arrangements for the vaccines will be improved .she also appealed the donors, philanthropists and civil society organisations to come forward and help the government in this cause.