ISLAMABAD, Jul 28 (APP): Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif on Thursday said that the government was prioritizing the provision of facilities for screening and treatment of patients, in order to make Pakistan a hepatitis-free country by 2030.
The prime minister, in his message on World Hepatitis Day annually observed on July 28, said that in order to ensure the prevention of the disease, the government had decided to launch an awareness drive on preventive measures besides providing treatment and vaccines to the people.
He said being a killer disease, hepatitis annually killed around a million people across the world. He said one out of every 13 Pakistanis suffered hepatitis and around 86 percent of them remain unaware of the disease.
The prime minister said that nine million people suffering from hepatitis was no less than a threat that necessitated preventive measures and awareness campaign to avert the spread from touching an alarming level.
He said being a silent killer, the hepatitis gradually killed the patient within 15 to 20 years causing liver cirrhosis and cancer.
Recalling his anti-hepatitis efforts during his stint as Punjab chief minister, the prime minister said he had established Pakistan Kidney and Liver Transplant Institute and Hepatitis Treatment Filter Clinics across the province for early diagnosis of the disease and save lives through liver transplantation of the people going through last stage of the disease.
The prime minister said that after assuming the prime minister’s office, he had revived the PKLI which had faced neglect of the precious government. The government also increased the quota of free treatment to achieve the dream of free-of-charge liver transplantation facility to people coming from across the country.
He also urged the people to take precautionary measures to prevent their dear ones from the disease through vaccination and regular screening tests.
He also appealed media to play its role for mass awareness on prevention considering it a collective responsibility.
The prime minister hoped that the country could overcome the disease by timely diagnosis and providing treatment facilities at the basic level. He also invited the international health organizations to join hands with Pakistan to eliminate the disease from Pakistan and also paid tribute to the health workers striving to achieve the objective.