State approaches Union Health Ministry for help

Don’t Panic, Take Precautions: Docs To People



Srinagar, Jan 31: After detecting Hepatitis-C at Takiya Magam in south Kashmir, the experts and doctors from the state’s Health Department Thursday recommended that every villager should get tested for the Hepatitis-C virus and take precautionary measures to save themselves.
 While the Health Department had decided to launch a mass screening and health education program to prevent the secondary infection in the area, the Minister of State for Health, Shabir Ahmad Khan on Thursday said that state government has approached the Union Health Ministry for expert assistance.
 “We have already written to the Union Health Minister, Ghulam Nabi Azad for extending help to contain the spread of the disease in the area and deal with the situation arisen in the backdrop of increasing cases of Hepatitis- B and C in Magam and Sonambrari villages of district Islamabad (Anantnag),” Khan said in an official communiqué.
 Talking to Greater Kashmir, an epidemiologist working in the Health Department said that people should not panic but take precautionary measures to prevent the spread of Hepatitis-C virus to others.
 “The clinics and diagnostic centers in the area need to take up strict infection control mechanism in the area so that they don’t become a party in the process of spreading of infection,” he said. 
 “Most people don't know they are infected and will develop liver disease unless they get treatment that clears the virus from the body,” he said. “So government should take the screening program seriously and think about the treatment.”
 Noted Hematologists, wishing anonymity said the Hepatitis-C virus can be transmitted through sharing needles. “It can also spread through blood transfusions, organ transplants and tooth extraction unhygienically so people should follow strict infection control measures,” he said.
 He said the blood test is the only way for a person to know if they have Hepatitis- C.
 "Even at the time of infection, it often does not cause any symptoms," he said. Over years or even decades the infection causes scarring in the liver. But by the time symptoms appear, he said, "They may have already developed cirrhosis or even liver cancer."
 He hoped more people would be treated now that screening extends to everyone in a specific age group. “Thanks to new testing and drugs, many people who finish treatment completely clear the virus from their body.”
 But he said treatment is expensive and grueling.
 It can cost Rs 2 to Rs 3 Lakhs, which can be beyond the reach of people without health insurance, he said. “And having Hepatitis-C can make it hard to get insurance. So either government can help such people or some NGOs can finance such patients.”

Lastupdate on : Thu, 31 Jan 2013 21:30:00 Makkah time
Lastupdate on : Thu, 31 Jan 2013 18:30:00 GMT
Lastupdate on : Fri, 1 Feb 2013 00:00:00 IST

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