KARACHI - As around 10 percent of the total population of the country have been affected with hepatitis A, B and C. The medicines that use to treat infections are not available in all public sector hospital across Sindh, The Nation has learnt.

According to details, the medicines used to treat hepatitis C are not available in the Hepatitis Centers of Hepatitis Prevention & Control Program Sindh for several weeks as the Sindh government is yet to provide its fresh supply.

Scores of new and old registered hepatitis C patients have been awaiting medicines across Sindh province. The registered patients at Hepatitis Centers at the hospitals, including Civil Hospital Karachi, Abbasi Shaheed Hospital, Sindh Government Qatar Hospital and Sindh Government Hospital Liaquatabad, have not been provided medicines for hepatitis C patients for a month, causing great hardships to them.

The hepatitis C patients in Hyderabad, Nawabshah, Mirpurkhas, Sukkur and other districts of the province are visiting the Hepatitis Centers to get medicines but they are being asked by the doctors to purchase drugs from private medical stores as no drug was available in these centers. 

The shortage of drugs has badly affected the program performance as treatment of hepatitis patients is very costly and majority of the patients do not afford treatment cost of this viral disease. The shortage of medicines has put lives of score of patients suffering from hepatitis C at risk.

Media Coordinator, Hepatitis Prevention & Control Program, Sindh, Khurram Khan said that the supply of medicines to Hepatitis Centers across Sindh province would be started  within 15 days.

He claimed that which was rejected by patients that hepatitis B drugs are available at Centers and only hepatitis C medicines are not available there.

It is pertinent to mention here that every fifth death in Sindh is being caused either directly by hepatitis B and C or by complications caused by them. Around 20% to 25% of the population in the province is infected with hepatitis B or C, while in some areas of the province, which also include Gadap and Kathore near Karachi and coastal areas of Sindh, around 30% to 35% people have been found infected with the viral disease.

Most of the patients of viral hepatitis do not know about their disease until its gets into chronic stage and badly damages their livers. If screened and diagnosed earlier, these patients can be properly treated and viruses can be eliminated from their bodies.