Hepatitis control program in doldrums


LARKANA: The Chief Minister’s Program for Prevention & Treatment of Hepatitis in Sindh is in doldrums since last four months but the government is constantly asking affected people through advertisements to get treatment for this deadly disease free of cost.

Larkana, Kambar-Shahdadkot, Jacobabad, Shikarpur & Kandhkot-Kashmore districts are among the few who are called in dangerous zone as more positive cases are found in these areas because of the fact the most of these districts have no qualified pathologist and the blood banks working are unregistered. Sources further said that in Larkana district’s taluka hospitals no HIV testing is performed as they don’t have any required kits, which show the working of these hospitals.

These sources further said that Hepatitis B & C screening is made in these hospitals but they lack the facilities of HIV testing. Sources further revealed that in AIDS Control Program and in Hepatitis Program, employees have not yet been regularized and they are working on contract basis which has broken their hearts hence they are just discharging their duties which need to be confirmed.

A meeting of District AIDS Task Force was held under the Chairmanship of Javed Ali Jagirani, Deputy Commissioner, in which Provincial Program Manager, Sindh AIDS Control Program, Dr. Mohammad Younis Chachar, also participated among others. It was decided in the meeting that Viral Load Testing equipment will be provided to the treatment centre at Larkana for which Dr. Chachar undertook. It was also decided to establish Rehabilitation Centre in Larkana for over 950 HIV positive patients for which Sindh Government will be approached. Blood Banks will also be established at Taluka level where all screening facilities will be provided along with qualified pathologists. It was further decided that high risk people should be restricted to stop further spread of this deadly viral disease.

Dr. Chachar further disclosed that two HIV and one AIDS patient has been detected among 2068 inmates of Central Prison, Larkana, recently. Dr. Chachar further informed the meeting about achievement harm reduction services have been provided through service delivery packages in Larkana from June 2011 to June 30, 2014 1670 IDUs (Intravenous Drug User), 1850 MSWs (Male Sex Workers), 1691 FSWs (Female Sex Workers), 2500 Jail Inmates and 2000 truckers.

Monthly meeting of the Task Force will also be held regularly to monitor the facts. The point raised by a senior Pathologist is that when such a large number of sex workers & IDUs are existing in Larkana then why the number of positive patients under 1000 which need to be thoroughly looked into for the betterment of the population which is already using contaminated water.