PESHAWAR: The provincial government has purchased hepatitis medicines worth just Rs 5 million and is being supplied to all government-run hospital across the province.
Sources say that there has been a sharp rise in the number of Hepatitis B and C patients in recent years but the government only allocated a meagre amount of just Rs5 million to procure medicines which will barely be sufficient to cover the registered patients of the disease.
They pointed out that the Punjab government is far ahead in this regards, purchasing medicines worth Rs700 million.
Data of the health department shows that there were as many as 12,000 Hepatitis-C patients in the province until last year. This grew to 16,000 this year with 4,000 in fresh registrations.
Similarly, the number of Hepatitis-B patients has increased from 5,500 to 7,000 following 2,500 fresh registrations this year.
This brings the prevalence rate of Hepatitis B and C in Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa to 2.5% and 4.5% respectively and does not include data from the newly merged tribal districts.
However, doctors claimed that the numbers provided by the government were false and that the actual number of Hepatitis C patients was much higher, close to 70,000. Hence, they termed the government’s measures to cope with it as inadequate.
The sources said that of the 4,000 new Hepatitis-C registrations this year, 1,500 patients were registered at the Lady Reading Hospital in Peshawar while other two large medical teaching institutes (MTI) hospitals of Khyber Teaching Hospital (KTH) and the Hayatabad Medical Centre (HMC) had more than 600 patients register.
Similarly, some 500 Hepatitis C patients registered at the Naseerullah Babar Memorial Hospital in Peshawar.
In other districts of the province, as many as 1,200 Hepatitis-C patients were registered in Swat and Mansehra each, 600 in Charsada, and Mardan each, 500 in Buner, 200 in Nowshera and Tank each and 100 in Lakki Marwat.
For Hepatitis B, there are 1,300 registered patients in Dera Ismail Khan, 600 in Bannu, 500 in Tank, 400 in Mansehra, 200 in Buner and Swat each and 150 in Lakki Marwat.
Sources added that until the recent procurement of medicines, the provision of free hepatitis medicines had ground to a halt after past stocks ran out. However, with the stocks replenished, hospitals have started giving out the medicines again.