PMA for urgent measures following alarming hepatitis C report by WHO

10:00 AM, 19 Apr, 2024
PMA for urgent measures following alarming hepatitis C report by WHO

KARACHI: The Pakistan Medical Association (PMA) has voiced serious concern following the release of an alarming report by the World Health Organization (WHO), which reveals that Pakistan bears the highest burden of Hepatitis C infection worldwide, stressing the need for immediate governmental action to effectively tackle this public health crisis.

Hepatitis C, a viral infection, afflicts millions globally, leading to severe liver damage and imposing a substantial strain on healthcare systems. The current prevalence of Hepatitis C in Pakistan is deemed unacceptable, necessitating swift interventions to safeguard the health and well-being of our populace.

The PMA suggested different measures to the government, urging it to prioritize their implementation to improve the situation.  

The association proposes an extensive public awareness campaign to educate people about hepatitis, including its causes, modes of transmission, prevention strategies, and available treatment options. This campaign should use various communication platforms such as television, radio, print media, social media, and community outreach programs.

It suggests the provision of easily accessible and affordable screening and testing facilities nationwide as early detection plays a pivotal role in curbing the spread of the disease and ensuring timely treatment for affected individuals.

PMA wants the government to ensure the availability and affordability of essential medicines for hepatitis C treatment by involving pharmaceutical companies and providing subsidies to facilitate equitable access to treatment for all affected individuals.

It seeks more investment in healthcare infrastructure, particularly in rural areas to facilitate proper diagnosis, treatment, and follow-up care for hepatitis C patients, thereby aiding in disease control efforts.

The association wants strict enforcement of infection control measures, including safe injection practices in healthcare settings, besides adequate sterilization of medical equipment and the promotion of disposable syringes and needles to mitigate the risk of new infections.

It seeks active support and encouragement to research initiatives aimed at hepatitis C prevention, treatment, and eradication are essential, adding that investing in research will lead to the development of improved strategies, enhanced healthcare practices, and ultimately, the eradication of the disease.

The PMA offers collaboration to the government, international organizations, and all relevant stakeholders to address this pressing issue. It emphasizes the need for a comprehensive national strategy, regular progress monitoring, and effective implementation of measures, to eradicate hepatitis C from Pakistan.