LAHORE - A seminar on “Hepatitis and its Treatment” held at Waqt Forum Tuesday where the speakers said that hepatitis is killing about 60 to 70 people daily in the country.

The speakers were Punjab Minister for Health Khalil Tahir Sandhu, former KEMC Principal Prof Khwaja Sadiq Hussain, Dr Javed Akram, Prof Arif Siddiqui and Pakistan Academy of Family Physicians Dr Tariq Mehmood.

“The treatment of hepatitis is costly but victims of this disease are the poor. The government should devise a strategy to overcome this disease. It would not be easy to handle strong mafias that import medicines,” Sindhu said adding the Punjab government would extend its efforts to those researchers who wanted to provide inexpensive medicines to the poor dying of this disease.

Talking about the CM Shahbaz Sharif’s vision of healthy Punjab, he said the government would consider all the proposals critically. He also lauded the efforts of the Nawa-i-Waqt Group on conducting such significant seminar. He said he had started checking the hospitals on regular basis and his ministry would not waste a single moment to improve the condition of those being treated in the public sector hospitals. Punjab government’s Health Advisor Dr Javed Akram said many die of hepatitis daily that was a matter of seriousness for the government. Though, major focus of the government is to control dengue but hepatitis could not be ignored at any cost. He said red-tapism was a major hurdle that did not approve an injection costing Rs33 only for the poor patients who otherwise were forced to purchase costly injections amounting to Rs1000. He said over one hundred thousand injections were expired due to negligence of the powerful bureaucracy that was more interested in import and commissioning. We should make efforts to cure all the hepatitis patients in the country and export the medicine.

KEMC former principal Dr Sadiq Hussain said over ten million people have been suffering from hepatitis C that has no vaccine. He said the treatment is expensive and 72 injections were required for a complete course.

He said interferon was the real medicine that could easily be available at Rs50 only. Prof Dr Arif Siddiqui said strict measures should be taken to cure this disease. All the speakers were of the view that the injections for the disease must be manufactured in the country and government should sponsor it.