Hepatitis control programme marred by shortage of injections

  • Lives of over 7,000 patients at stake

The hepatitis centres operating under Sindh’s Hepatitis Prevention and Control Program (HPCP) continue facing shortage of injections across the province despite the lapse of three months, putting lives of hundreds of patients at risk, it emerged on Monday.
An official of Hepatitis Prevention and Control Programme told this news agency that the programme management had been facing acute shortage of injections and drugs since three months due to delay of issuance of tender and poor supply system.
He said the delay in issuance of injections and drugs’ purchase tender has hit the project hard, putting lives of hundreds of patients at stake throughout the province.
He further said that despite clear instructions issued by Health Minister Jam Mehtab Hussain Dahar to the programme management, supply of injections had not commenced yet to newly-registered patients.
The official said the HPCP had registered about 7,000 news hepatitis patients across the Sindh province in last three months out of which 2,000 were in Karachi. “They have been put on waiting by the programme management due shortage of injections and drugs. The programme management has not started provision of injections to newly registered patients despite the lapse of three month,” he added.
The official said there were 13 hepatitis centres in Karachi operating under the hepatitis programme where around 2,000 newly-registered patients had been deprived from medicines and injections, causing great hardship for patients.
Hundreds of registered patients throughout Sindh have been visiting public hospitals on a regular basis to get injections, but they are being asked by doctors to purchase drugs from private medical stores as supply has not been started by the hepatitis programme to the centres.
This shortage of injections at hepatitis centres had badly affected programme performance as treatment of hepatitis patients is very costly and majority of patients cannot afford treatment.
The official feared that that lives of patients suffering from different types of hepatitis would be at risk if the shortage of medicines continued in future at the hepatitis centres.
When contacted Program Manger Dr Abdul Khaliq Shaikh said consignment of hepatitis injections had not yet been received by the program management; therefore, supply of drugs was partially disturbed. He said the program management had registered 2,932 new patients who were deprived of drugs.
He hoped that supply of medicines and injection would be commenced from month of March. According to a survey conducted to ascertain the number of Hepatitis patients in Sindh, around three million people have been struck down with the disease.