Awareness walk and seminar on World Hepatitis Day at DUHS

Hepatitis has emerged to be among the major and considerable global health diseases that is widely spreading and infecting around 300 million people worldwide.
In Pakistan, there are approximately 7 million people who are infected with Hepatitis C among which only 1 million have been diagnosed yet.
The remaining 6 million of the people are the missing millions. If we don’t join hands to find these missing millions of people, Pakistan would be suffering with the threat of disease spreading at a higher rate and millions will continue to suffer while remaining undiagnosed. Pakistan has the 2nd highest number of hepatitis patients in the world after China.
These views were expressed by the experts and specialists of liver and GI diseases at a Seminar to Eliminate Hepatitis and create public awareness organized by National Institute of Liver and GI Diseases (NILGID), constituent institute of Dow University of Health Sciences to commemorate World Hepatitis Day with a theme of “Find the Missing Millions”.
Professor Muhammad Masroor Ahmed, Pro-Vice Chancellor of Dow University of Health Sciences was the Chief Guest at the seminar while experts like Dr. Nadeem Syed Hassan Director of NILGID, Prof. Zahid Azam, Dr. Tayyab USmani, Dr. Hafees Ullah Shaikh, Dr. Abdullah Bin Khalid, Dr. Sabihta Shaikh, Dr. Atif Majeed and Dr. Fakhar Ali Arisar attended the seminar and expressed their point of view regarding the topic.
National Institute of Liver and GI Diseases, DUHS also organized a Hepatitis Walk before beginning the seminar in order to create awareness highlighting their theme “Find the Missing Millions”.
The walk was led by the Pro-Vice Chancellor of DUHS Professor Muhammad Masroor Ahmed which started from Dow University Hospital and ended up at the OPD block, DUHS.
Senior hospital faculty, staff, students and members of the public attended the walk carrying play cards and banners printed with awareness texts and slogans informing the local public about the disease. Free Hepatitis B and C screening and vaccination was also provided by NILGID.
Prof. Muhammad Masroor said that, there are no particular symptoms of hepatitis or liver diseases. It can be diagnosed by proper blood screening at the early stages. Dow University of Health Sciences is the first Blood Bank in public sector to adopt Real time PCR based NAT technology ensuring safe blood transfusion for all.
Through the old traditional screening tests, the disease maybe transmitted and increase its range from one person to another. DUHS is playing a significant role in reducing the rate of transfusion transmitted diseases like Hepatitis.
Speakers informed that Hepatitis A and E spreads through contaminated drinking water/ food and can be prevented by using boiled water, washing hands before cooking and eating and after using toilets. Whereas, Hepatitis B and C can be transmitted via use of infected blood, re-use of shaving razors at barber’s shops, use of contaminated syringes during medical procedures or injection for drug use.
It is essential to screen the blood properly for these viruses and observe proper sterilization measures during dental and surgical procedures. They also mentioned the unsafe injection practice in Pakistan by quacks and emphasized on avoiding unnecessary injection use. Hepatitis A and B are preventable by administrating vaccines.
Hepatitis A and E are usually self-limiting but Hepatitis B and C slowly damages the liver and has many complications including liver failure and liver cancer. Thus, diagnosing the disease at early stage and proper treatment reduces the disease by 90 percent., awareness is an important part to prevent and eliminate Hepatitis. A mass screening of Hepatitis B and C is required to “Find the /missing Millions” in order to achieve WHO target of eliminating hepatitis by the year 2030— NNI

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