100,000 thalassemia & 10 million Hepatitis C patients exist in Pakistan

ISLAMABAD, Pakistan: Estimatedly 100,000 thalassemia patients exit in Pakistan while 10 million people are suffering from Hepatitis C at present, the Minister for National Health Services, Regulation and Coordination told the National Assembly.

Responding to a question by Nusrat Wahid of Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI), the minister apprised the House in written that the exact number of thalassemia patients in Pakistan is not known as no national baseline survey has ever been conducted but it is estimated that 100,000 thalassemia major patients exist in the Country.

No Thalassemia Prevention Programme at Federal Level

The minister told that the federal government does not have a Thalassemia Prevention Programme but in Punjab an effective Thalassemia Prevention Programme is functioning which includes genetic counseling services, extended family screening and prenatal testing and screening.

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Furthermore, he apprised that House that according to 2008 National Hepatitis B and C Survey in Pakistan, the national prevalence of Hepatitis C in Pakistan was 5%. Therefore the estimated number of population affected from Hepatitis C is 10 million at present.

The national health services minister told that at present, there is no hepatitis control program at the federal level. He said that after the 18th Amendment devolved health to the provinces, the Prime Minister’s National Hepatitis Program was devolved into four Provincial Hepatitis Control Program with full autonomy and administrative control. He added that these programs provide free vaccination, testing and treatment services to hepatitis patients.

619 licensed pharmaceutical manufacturing units in Pakistan

To another question, the minister told that House that there are 619 licensed pharmaceutical manufacturing units in Pakistan including Islamabad at present.

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