Wednesday, February 8

Need stressed to treat Hepatitis timely

Karachi:Director National Institute of Liver and Gastrointestinal Disease Dr Nadeem Syed Hassan said on Wednesday that 15 million people in Pakistan had been infected with hepatitis B and C, which was increasing rapidly.

The use of injections is four times more in Pakistan than in the rest of the world, just because people of generally believe that it heals quickly while in Pakistan, 17 to 50% of syringes are recycled and used which is the main reason for the increase in Hepatitis in Pakistan, he said while speaking at webinar in Dow University of Health Science under the department of National Institute of liver and Gastrointestinal Disease.

Medical Superintendent Prof Zahid Azam, Assistant Prof Tayyab Usmani, Assistant Prof Sabihta Shabir, Assistant Prof Abdullah Bin Khalid and Assistant Prof Kelash also addressed the webinar. Further, he said, according to a survey 2007-8, in Pakistan, 2.5% people are infected with hepatitis B and 4.8% with hepatitis C while according to recent survey, in only Panjab, 17% of people are infected with Hepatitis C while 2.2% are infected.

Medical superintendent of Dow Hospital Prof Zahid Azam said that hepatitis is a silent killer because of initially, the symptoms do not appears and every Pakistani should get tested for hepatitis because with timely diagnosis, this deadly disease can be easily treated.

Addressing the webinar, Assist Prof Tayyab Usmani said that if a person has had hepatitis for more than six months, we call it chronic disease, it can be treated, as the symptoms do not appear in the beginning that’s why it is important to get tested. Early ages hepatitis can be dangerous, as such a patient should be examined from time to time because the liver begins shrinking in a period of 2 to 8 years and this causes stiffness in the liver and the liver stop working. In this case, the liver needs to be transplanted. Further he said hepatitis B can be passed from a pregnant mother to a newborn baby while a breastfed baby will be safe if fully vaccinated.

Assist Prof Sabihta Shabbir said the first cause of liver failure in the last few years is the fatty liver. About 40% of people with liver disease suffering from fatty liver. Addressing the webinar, Dr Abdullah bin Khalid said that usually when patient is infected from hepatitis and it takes 10 to 15 years for the liver to begin to shrink and symptoms do not appear at first. It need to be treated in timely manner.

Prof Kelash said transplant can save lives when the liver stops working in hepatitis. In Pakistan, the donor is usually a close relative while the practice of donating outside Pakistan is common. The patient usually stay in the hospital for 12 days while the donor has to stay in the hospital for a week. The reason for the increase in liver transplant in Pakistan is the increase in the number of patients and doctor usually try to protect patients from surgery as surgery has its own risks.