More than 300 people die every day in Pakistan due to complications from hepatitis B and C which are proving to be up to four times more fatal than the COVID-19 outbreak in the country.
It was revealed by Dr. Lubna Kamani, President Pakistan GI and Liver Diseases Society (PGLDS), during an awareness session held in connection with World Hepatitis Day 2021.
Speaking to the participants, Dr. Lubna said that at least 150,000 new cases of hepatitis B and C are confirmed every day while the number of their patients stands above 15 million currently, which is the second-largest population infected with hepatitis B and C after China.
Unsafe medical practices and a poor system of sewage disposal and sanitation are primarily responsible for the spread of all five forms of hepatitis in the country.
Hepatitis B and C are transmitted through direct contact with or transfusion of bodily fluid, such as blood, and most patients in Pakistan become infected with hepatitis B and C at healthcare facilities.
Awareness about hepatitis B and C is key to its prevention and treatment, adding that these viral infections are treatable.
She also recalled the 2019 HIV/AIDS outbreak in Ratodero, Sindh, where a local doctor infected over 1,400 people, including more than 1,000 children, by reusing syringes.
‘Hepatitis can’t wait’ is the theme for this year’s World Hepatitis Day which calls for its elimination from the world by 2030, said Dr. Lubna.