HYDERABAD - The health experts and medical practitioners have emphasised for launching of mass-awareness campaign to prevent hepatitis virus particularly B and C as the disease is gradually taking a heavy toll on human life in the country especially in Sindh.

Terming the virus as a silent killer, they emphasised the need for collective efforts to effectively check the transmission of the disease.

They said this while addressing at an awareness seminar held at Shaikh Ayaz Auditorium, Arts faculty Building, University of Sindh Jamshoro on Thursday which organised by office of the Dean Faculty of Natural Sciences of the varsity in collaboration with Sindh Skills Development Program, Bilqees Razia Trust, Sindh Hepatitis Control Program, Save Human Foundation and Petarian Association. The Vice Chancellor University of Sindh Prof Dr Fateh Muhammad Burfat in his address said that hepatitis B virus was a common problem for the society and its treatment was continuously changing and improving.

 “The number of liver patients is increasing in our society because of lack of knowledge about it,” he said and added that being a social scientist he taught in many medical universities particularly in Agha Khan University and knew very well about these common diseases.

He informed that he had undertaken a study in Dost Muhammad Khaskheli village in one of the districts of Sindh which revealed that women were more prone to hepatitis which he termed as alarming; for the well-being of a family depended largely on females.

He said that jaundice, bleeding, weight loss and severe itching were the last stage of liver disease caused by the hepatitis viruses, which could be averted through opportune information and adequate intervention.

Dr. Bekharam from Liaquat Medical University of Health Sciences Jamshoro said that they were partnering anti-hepatitis initiatives with the University of Sindh to disseminate awareness among millions of people of Sindh through the varsitys faculty and students.

“The University of Sindh has its intake from almost all parts of the province and Pakistan; hence, we understand its stakeholders are the right people to reach to proliferate awareness of hepatitis threat and precautionary measures that need to be adopted”, he said.

He said that many people could prevent the disease if they maintained something like healthy balanced diet, consumption of more fruits and vegetables, maintaining normal weight, regular workout, avoiding of alcohol, increase water intake to help flush toxins, harboring positive attitude and slashing on high doses of vitamins A, D, E, and K.

He said the majority of people infected with hepatitis virus suffered continually and even in many cases died because they were unaware, undiagnosed and untreated due to lack of awareness. Dr. Bekharam said hepatitis viruses- A, B, C, D and E could cause acute and chronic infection and inflammation of the liver, leading to cirrhosis and liver cancer. So, he said there were no alternative to prevent the viruses excepting taking collective efforts.

Dr. Hussain Bux Kolachi of ISRA University Hyderabad said that universities can play significant role by involving thousands of faculty members, employees and  tens of thousands of students towards raising awareness, formulating legislative frameworks, introducing intervention strategies and undertaking sensitization campaigns.

He said that creating a large-scale mass-awareness had become an urgent need for the prevention of hepatitis viruses particularly B and C as the disease is gradually taking a heavy toll on society and the nation as well.

He termed the infection of the viruses as fire without flame and a silent killer and emphasized the need for joint endeavors to contain the proliferation of the ailment efficiently.

Another expert Aijaz Patoli from Bilqees Razia Trust observed that one particular event would not be sufficient to effectively combat the disease.     

“Hepatitis is not something which may evaporate by just one theoretical or practical session”, he said and added it is an ongoing evil which could be controlled through persistent long-term battle.

He said that drastic climatic changes and the consequent ailments in the world had brought humanity under one involuntary obligation of converging on a single platform to fight back and defeat the devil. We need institutional, regional, national and global collaborations to overwhelm the evil of hepatitis, he emphasized.

Dr Wali Muhammad Laghari from Sindh Hepatitis Control Programme said that massive awareness coupled with strong legislation shall serve as the most effective weapons against hepatitis, as 5 to 10 percent of the Pakistani population is affected with Hepatitis. As many as 4,000 people die of Hepatitis daily worldwide.

Dr Naeem Leghari from Bilqees Razia Trust (BRT) oriented the audience with the objectives and achievements of their trust and informed that they were focusing on Dadu as their operational hub where the number of hepatitis positive patients was higher compared to other districts of Sindh.

He said that their trust offered thousands of masses in district Dadu free facilities of screening, registration, vaccination and treatment.

Dr Soomar Khoso from Sindh Skills Development Programme (SSDP) stressed all parents to get their children aging one year and above vaccinated, or it would be tantamount to snatching from them their right to life.

He said that the youth needed to adopt healthy and hygienic life style to buffer in time the prospective onslaught of hepatitis and other life-jeopardizing diseases.

Among others, Dean Faculty of Natural Sciences Prof Dr Akhtar Hussain Mughal, Pro-Vice Chancellor Laar Campus Badin Prof. Dr. Muhammad Siddique Kalhoro, Pro-Vice Chancellor Naushahroferoz Campus Muhammad Nawaz Narejo, Pro-Vice Chancellor Mirpurkhas Campus Dr. Ghulam Sarwar Gachal, President Sindh University Teachers Association (SUTA) Dr. Azhar Ali Shah, President Sindh University Officers Association Ghulam Nabi Kaka, General Secretary Officers Association Engr Sajjad Hussain Shah, Dr Fida Hussain Chandio and Dr Asghar Maka were also present on the occasion.