Infectious disease surveillance starts in capital


ISLAMABAD: The Ministry of National Health Services, Regulation and Coordination has started infectious disease surveillance in the federal capital to protect citizens from carrying infections and its further spread in the population.

According to an official of the ministry, the ministry has established a model centre for infectious diseases in this regard to provide free services for testing and treatment of Hepatitis C and tuberculosis in slums areas of the federal capital.

He said that the model centre established at G-7 dispensary would be dedicated for the screening, testing and treatment of hepatitis C patients with the integration of other infectious diseases like tuberculosis.

He said the project was started for the screening of under-served communities of the federal capital. The teams would go door to door in slum communities to screen high-risk individuals, he added.

Those found positive would be referred to the centre for confirmation of the disease and its treatment, he added.

He said to curb the disease burden of hepatitis C, the government was implementing the Hepatitis Prevention and Control Project for Islamabad Capital Territory (ICT) with the incorporation of TB.

He said the Hepatitis C patients would be cured with three months’ oral tablets treatment with having no side effects.

He added that the Hepatitis B vaccine would also be given to the patients undergoing hepatitis C treatment.

He said all the testing, treatment and hepatitis B vaccination would be done free of cost. The dedicated staff would ensure the follow up of the patients in the community to maximize the treatment compliance and response, he added.

The official said that the government would carry out a vigorous awareness campaign in these communities using the innovative modes of communications to raise awareness for health-seeking behaviours, precautionary measurements and information about the centre.

The purpose was to sensitize masses in an effective and proficient manner rather use conventional modes of communication, he added.

He said Pakistan had the second highest disease burden of Hepatitis C in the world as almost 10 million people were affected with Hepatitis C in Pakistan.

He said inadequately screened blood transfusions, inappropriately sterilized medical, surgical, dental and gynaecological instruments, besides sharing razors, shaving blades and toothbrushes, were the most significant risk factors for the transmission of the Hepatitis C in the country. If left untreated many people would develop life-threatening complications including liver cancer, he added.

He said the government was revamping all health services in the federal capital to convert it into a model health city.