KARACHI: Hepatitis is more prevalent in men than women, as per results of a survey for seroprevalence of hepatitis B, C, D and HIV.
Seroprevalence is the number of people in a population who test positive for a specific disease based on serology specimens; often presented as a per cent of the total specimens tested.
“In women, the hepatitis virus is detected mostly after marriage,” said the survey, which has come about through the efforts of WHO and the Sindh Health Department. The results were presented on Thursday at the Emergency Operations Center, Karachi, Sindh.
Sindh Minister for Health and Population Welfare Dr Azra Fazal Pechuho and World Health Organisation Representative to Pakistan Dr Palitha Gunarathna Mahipala attended the event as chief guests. Health Secretary Zulfiqar Shah, DG Health Dr Juman Bahoto, PPHI CEO Javed Ali Jagirani and representatives from UNICEF, AKUH, EOC, and EPI were also in attendance.
Officials said that the only way to eliminate hepatitis from the country is to routinely immunise children in the delivery unit.
“Hepatitis virus may be contracted through vertical transmission and if left untreated, the infected child will stay infected for life which will result in chronic liver damage and death in the future. If hepatitis is contracted after the age of five the body has formed enough immunity and resistance to fight it off and remove the virus from the body,” said the survey.
The survey results revealed that in order to eliminate the virus from the community, Sindh must screen and treat around 200,000 people a year. Sex workers have a higher rate of infection for HCV but there is a rate of 98% cure for those who seek treatment.
Dr Mahipala congratulated the efforts being made in the province that is ensuring that every year the cases of these viruses are decreasing.
He also commended the data collection and hoped that such projects will increase so as to provide a clearer idea of the healthcare needs of the people.
Minister for Health and Population Welfare Azra Fazal Pechuho stated that Hepatitis C is one of the most prevalent infectious diseases and due to its high rate of successful treatment, it is something that can and should demand continued efforts.
She also said that communication and community engagement has been increased in order to make people more aware of these infectious diseases and how to prevent and treat them.