Even though the Mukh Mantri Punjab Hepatitis C Relief Fund (MMPHCRF) scheme started in June 2016, the number of hepatitis C patients here seem to increasing.
As per information Doaba region, Shaheed Bhagat Singh Nagar has maximum number of patients who have started the treatment for hepatitis-C with the health department, from Jalandhar and Kapurthala. As per the details gathered from health department, from 2016 to last week, a total of 712 patients have taken the treatment for hepatitis-C till date in the SBS Nagar. In Jalandhar district, there are 535 such patients and 377 in Hoshiarpur.Kapurthala health department has reportedly begun the treatment of 338 patients.
According to MMPHCRF programme free medicines are being provided to the patients suffering hepatitis C in the state.
When contacted, deputy medical commissioner (DMC) in SBS Nagar Dr Dyal Saroop informed, “The district has maximum rural belt than urban.”
“Also patients from Garhshankar town of Hoshiarpur district are referred to the civil hospital here. People from Garhshankar usually come here rather than visiting Hoshiarpur which is 50 km away from town,” said Saroop. The DMC also informed that the patients have to undergo viral load test before starting and ending the treatment. Later, a cure certificate, is given to the patient after completion of medicine’s course. The duration of the course is for about three months. Jalandhar epidemiologist Dr Preet Kamal Singh said that the health department has already tied up with a private laboratory for offering tests including, viral load and genotyping tests to the patients, at subsidized rates. He told that hepatitis-C leads to liver diseases. Dr Singh informed that hepatitis-C virus is a blood-borne virus and the infection is transmitted through contaminated blood, needles, unsafe sex among the other reasons.
Hepatitis-C among jail inmates
On the instructions of the state government, the health departments of Kapurthala and Jalandhar have started a screening drive for the inmates of the Kapurthala Modern Jail. Recently, 54 prisoners were checked for the virus, of which 53 tested positive. Their treatment are supposed to start soon after some more tests at private labs.The entire expanses of the treatment of the patients will be borne by the jail department. Dr Preet Kamal Singh told, “A team from health department Jalandhar has also conducted separate screening for the inmates and reports are being accessed as it is just on preliminary stage.”
Fever, fatigue, decreased appetite, nausea, vomiting, abdominal pain, dark urine, joint pain and jaundice are main symptoms of the disease.