Chandigarh: The Department of Health, Punjab marked success by enrolling more than 10,000 cases of Hepatitis-C on treatment. “Mukh Mantri Hepatitis-C Relief Fund” was launched by Chief Minister Punjab on 18th June in order to ensure free treatment facility to people suffering from Hepatitis-C .
Under the initiative, drugs are provided free of cost to the patients to bring down the direct cost of the treatment along with the indirect travel expenses for travelling to Chandigarh or other bigger cities for treatment by ensuring the availability of drugs at nearby Govt. health institutions.
The treatment of Hepatitis-C is now available at 25 Centres (3 Govt Medical Colleges and 22 District Hospitals) in the State. This was stated here today by Ms. Vini Mahajan, Principal Secretary, Health, Punjab.
Since there is no National or State Programme for HCV so the exact data of HCV prevalence in the community was not available. The scheme was planned keeping in view data captured in certain studies, about prevalence of HCV in different parts and socioeconomic groups of general population.
The scheme was prepared by experts in Herpetology from PGIMER and State of Punjab for testing and treatment of Hepatitis-C cases. The medical and paramedical staff of the designated 25 hospitals have been sensitized and trained in treatment of Hepatitis-C.
Studies have shown that the patients suffering from cirrhosis of liver have higher chances of complications and cancer and higher rate of mortality. Principal Secretary revealed that within two and a half months of launch of this scheme, more than 10,000 cases of Hepatitis-C have been put on treatment across the State.
Out of these 10000 cases, nearly 1500 cases had cirrhosis of liver and provision of free treatment to these cases of Hepatitis-C has been beneficial in preventing the complications in future. The objective is to decrease the load of infection of Hepatitis-C in the general population.
In another effort to monitor the Hepatitis-C treatment, the department is developing a tool for monitoring and evaluation of the programme in association with CHAI (Clinton Health Access Initiative), which will help in analyzing the problem statement and plan for future.
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