Finally, health officials lend an ear to hepatitis-C patients

Finally, senior health officials on Tuesday visited Langeana Nawan village, where more than 70% residents are suffering from hepatitis-C disease.

In its October 2 edition, Hindustan Times had reported how more than 600 residents of the village in this district were fighting hepatitis-C without any help from any government agency.

Deputy commissioner Arshdeep Singh Thind had asked the health department to enquire into the matter immediately. The DC had also asked the health officials to check that the medical practitioners in rural areas were qualified enough.

The patients were surprised when health officials told them that the health department lacked funds to help the patients. "The officials said that if patients can conduct tests from any private laboratory, then their cases could be recommend for further treatment," said Gurtej Singh Brar, a social worker, who is also suffering from the disease for the last six years.

Chief medical officer (CMO), Moga, Dr Gulshan Rai, along with Dr Devinder Sharma, visited Langeana and talked to the patients. The villagers complained to the CMO that they had approached the authorities of civil hospital, Baghapurana, many times for advice, but they refused them any help.

Gurtej Singh Brar revealed that during the last two years, hepatitis-C had claimed 9 lives in Langeana Nawan and Langeana Kalan vllages.

"We will submit detailed report to the deputy commissioner on Wednesday. I have asked the health officials of Baghapurana area to start a drive to make people aware of the prevention of hepatitis-C," said the CMO.

Langeana sarpanch Harcharan Singh told the CMO that 90% of the villagers were suffering from the disease. The CMO said that there was no national programme to treat hepatitis-C cases in civil hospitals. "The government has not provided a single penny to the health department for a long time," he added.

Deputy commissioner Arshdeep Singh Thind said that the administration has taken the report seriously. "The health department will organise a special hepatitis-C detection camp at Langeana Nawan in the next 10 days. We will approach the patients and I assure that we will save them at any cost," said the DC.


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