The hepatitis B and C viral infections are a “pandemic within a pandemic” as Hepatitis is killing three to four times more people than Covid-19.
On Tuesday, at an awareness session, Health experts and medical scientists warned that hepatitis is claiming three to four times more lives in Pakistan than coronavirus. They called for immediate measures for the prevention, screening and treatment of the disease.
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While speaking at a session held at the Karachi Press Club in collaboration with Pakistan GI and Liver Diseases Society (PGLDS) in connection with World Hepatitis Day 2021, to highlight the global burden of viral hepatitis and to call for its elimination from the world by 2030, experts stressed the need to have equal focus on hepatitis B and C.
Viral hepatitis more lethal than Covid-19, claims over 300 deaths daily
According to Dr. Lubna Kamani, president of PGLDS, “Hepatitis is three to four times more lethal viral infection in Pakistan where around 300 to 325 people are dying daily due to complications of hepatitis B and C.”
She added, “On the other hand, Covid-19 deaths hardly cross the figure of 100 in a single day, so there is a need to have equal focus on the prevention, screening and treatment of hepatitis B and C in the country. It needs collective effort from health fraternity, government and the masses. We have to move fast before it goes out of control.”
Dr Kamani, a gastroenterologist associated with the Liaquat National Hospital and Aga Khan University, claimed that around 150,000 new cases of hepatitis B and C were being reported in Pakistan where the combined number of viral hepatitis patients was over 15 million. It makes the largest number of people living with hepatitis B and C here after China.
She also said, “Hepatitis B and C are blood-borne diseases, which means that they are spread through an exchange of infected blood by using infected syringes, IV drips, unsterilized equipment used by dentists, needles for piercing etc. People should avoid getting injections and IV drips as much as possible.”