ISLAMABAD, Pakistan: Minister for Health Services, Regulations and Coordination Saira Afzal Tarar Thursday informed the National Assembly that there were about 8 million patients of hepatitis C and almost 80,000 people were dying each year due to liver disease in the country.
Responding to a question in NA, she said usually these patients develop liver failure after having disease for over 20-30 years during which time they do not take appropriate treatment or the treatment fails or they develop liver cancer.
The cases of hepatitis disease were increasing by 250,000 every year in Pakistan, she informed.
She said that the government had signed an MoU with Bahrain and working for Bahrain University in the country where a department of organs’ transplant would also be established. Likewise, a department was also being established in Punjab for organs particularly liver transplant.
She said liver transplant practice would be started in the country in coming 3 or 4 years.
Unfortunately, there was no hospital in Pakistan having facility of liver transplant except the Shifa International Hospital, she added.
The minister said with the cooperation of World Health Organization (WHO) technical support were being provided to hospitals in 26 high risk districts of the country to tackle this disease.
She said WHO was supporting Pakistan for launching training campaigns in all provinces regarding hepatitis disease.
Saira underlined the importance of public awareness to control hepatitis, saying that hepatitis C,B were develop through blood transfusion and the other hepatitis A-E were born due to polluted water drinking.
She said the cost of liver transplant was Rs 6 to 7 million, which was unaffordable for a common person. She, however, said that the government was in contact with Shifa International Hospital to introduce a package for liver transplant under Prime Minister Programme.