ISLAMABAD-Ministry of National Health Services, Regulation and Coordination started infectious disease surveillance in the federal capital to protect residents from carrying infections and its further spread in population.

According to an official of the ministry, the ministry established a model centre for infectious diseases in this regard to provide free services for testing and treatment of Hepatitis C and tuberculosis in slums areas of the federal capital.

He said that the model centre established at G-7 dispensary would be dedicated for screening, testing and treatment of hepatitis C patients with integration of other infectious diseases like tuberculosis.

He said that the project was started for screening of under-served communities of the federal capital. The teams would go door to door in slum communities to screen high risk individuals, he added.

Those found positive would be referred to the centre for confirmation of the disease and its treatment, he added.

He said that in order to curb disease burden of hepatitis C, the government was implementing Hepatitis Prevention and Control Project for Islamabad Capital Territory (ICT) with incorporation of TB. He said that Hepatitis C patients would be cured with three months’ oral tablets treatment with having no side effects.

He added that Hepatitis B vaccine would also be given to the patients undergoing hepatitis C treatment.

He said that all tests, treatment and hepatitis B vaccination would be done free of cost.

The dedicated staff would ensure the follow up of the patients in the community to maximize the treatment compliance and response, he added.

The official said that the government would carry out a vigorous awareness campaign in communities using innovative modes of communications to raise awareness on health seeking behaviours, precautionary measurements and information about the centre.

The purpose is to sensitise masses in an effective and proficient manner rather to use conventional modes of communication, he added.

He said that Pakistan had the second highest disease burden of Hepatitis C in the world as almost 10 million people were affected with Hepatitis C in Pakistan.

He said that inadequately-screened blood transfusions, inappropriately-sterilised medical, surgical, dental and gynaecological instruments, besides sharing razors, shaving blades and toothbrushes, were the most significant risk factors for the transmission of the Hepatitis C in the country. If left untreated many people would develop life threatening complications including liver cancer, he added.

He said that the government was revamping all health services in the federal capital to convert it into a model health city.