PESHAWAR - The spread of Hepatitis B stands at 2.6 per cent and Hepatitis C at 4.8 per cent in Pakistan. Currently, there are 12 million people were infected by the disease in the country.

The main reasons for the spread of hepatitis are frequent use of therapeutic injections, re-use of syringes, blood transfusions with unscreened blood, inappropriate sterilisation practices and weak hospital waste management.

Associate Professor of Medicine at LRH Dr Javed Iqbal Farooqi and Chairman Association of Pakistani Physicians of North America (APPNA) Hepatitis Initiatives Dr Maqbool Arshad expressed these views while speaking during a one day symposium on "Hepatitis Epidemic and Control Strategy in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa" held here.

The symposium was organised by the KMU in joint collaboration with the Department of Health Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and APPNA with the objective of creating awareness about treatment and prevention of hepatitis.

Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Minister for Health Shaukat Yousafzai was the chief guest on the occasion while Professor Dr Shad Mohammad, Acting VC KMU, Dr Fakhar e Alam Secretary Health KPK, Professor Dr Mukhtiar Zaman, Director Research KMU and central leader of PTI Azam Khan Swati also spoke on the occasion.

The speakers said that spread of hepatitis could easily be checked by creating awareness among public on large scale.

Talking on causes of spread of hepatitis B&C, the speakers said use of used syringes, unsafe sexual relations, unscreened blood transfusions, shaving with contaminated razor, tattooing, contaminated instruments of footpath dentists, unsafe intravenous infusions, wastes in hospital's wards and improper blood sample collection are among major factors contributing to spread of the disease. By adopting simple preventive measures, we can control the spread of the disease, they added.

Earlier, while talking to the symposium as chief guest Shaukat Ali Yousafzai, Minister of Health Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, said awareness among general public can reduce the burden of hepatitis on the society. The KPK government is committed to adopt all possible measures to curb the menace of hepatitis from the province. He said legislation is in pipeline to reduce and control all the risk factors of hepatitis.