By Hina Kiyani
ISLAMABAD: The World Health Organization (WHO) Pakistan chapter on Tuesday assured its support in implementing its plans to eliminate hepatitis B and C from the country, said the statement.
Statement released by WHO referring to its representative in Pakistan Dr. Palitha Mahipala reiterated WHO’s full support and commitment for a ‘Hepatitis Free Future’ and assured the government of Pakistan in implementing its plans to eliminate hepatitis B and C epidemics in the country.
It said that our joint commitment and efforts would contribute to reaching the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG). “This is a long road ahead, but today we can take a small step with one commitment that will take us closer to a hepatitis free future.”
The statement said that WHO took this opportunity to assure full commitment to work hand in hand with national and the provincial programmes to further strengthen nationals’ response, provide the support needed to maintain hepatitis core interventions, to integrate service delivery arrangements, to reach universal health coverage and eliminate hepatitis.
It also said that Pakistan was facing numerous challenges in hepatitis response.
It had the highest prevalence of Hepatitis C (5%) globally and had the highest number of people suffering from HCV after China. “An estimated 8 million people are living with Hepatitis C – more than 10% of the world’s total and another 4 million are estimated infected with Hepatitis B, approximately 150,000 new cases reported each year.”
According to statement, the country situation is further manifested with extremely low birth dose coverage and minimal testing especially for hepatitis B, which is important for early diagnosis of individuals who are already chronically infected with HBV.
“It is time to raise our commitment and work towards the Hepatitis targets, as set out in the Global Health Sector Strategy on Viral Hepatitis goal of eliminating viral hepatitis by 2030. World Hepatitis Day 2020 is an opportunity to deliver to our population a promise of a hepatitis free future,” it added.