islamabad - A health survey by the Pakistan Medical Research Council revealed the rising trend of Hepatitis C in the country with 11 million people infected with the virus in 2015.

The Executive Director of PMRC Dr Huma Qureshi told a Senate committee that the rising trend of the disease in various parts of the country is due to reuse of syringes, unsafe blood transfusions and non-sterilisation of surgical instruments. The ED said 25 districts have been declared as high-risk areas because of high prevalence of the disease that include Islamabad, DG. Khan, Rahim Yar Khan, Jhang, Rajanpur, Vehari, Hafizabad, Pakpattan, Bahawalnagar, Okara, Khairpur, Ghotki, Sanghar, Dadu, Upper and Lower Dir, Hangu, Swat, Musakhel, Loralai, Sibi, Jaffarabad, Barkhan, and Zhob.

Dr Huma Qureshi yesterday briefed the Senate Standing Committee on National Health Services, Regulations and Coordination about the functions of the council and various initiatives taken to control various diseases.

She told the committee that 12 research centres, including two special centres of the council have been working in the country. She said the council has signed MoUs with various international organisations to research on various diseases and prevent their increase.

To a question, she said that situation is alarming and Pakistan is ranked second in the world having high prevalence of Hepatitis C. He said the government is doing very little on this front and mostly donors were providing funds for combating the disease in the country. The committee members suggested to establish such centres across the country to promote research culture and to raise awareness about the deadly disease. Senator Nauman Wazir suggested to strengthen the council by allocation of more resources, including human resource. Regarding the lack of any health infrastructure in the Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA), he said the government should double its health funding to end sense of deprivation among the people and take special measures to prevent the spread of Hepatitis C in the area.