7,000 hepatitis patients not receiving drugs

KARACHI: The shortage of injections in hepatitis centres operating under Hepatitis Prevention & Control Program (HPCP) Sindh continues across the Sindh province despite the lapse of three months, putting lives of hundreds of patients at risk, it was emerged on Monday.

An official of Hepatitis Prevention & Control Programme Sindh (Chief Minister Initiative) told PPI that program management had been facing acute shortage of injections and drugs since three months due to delay of issuance of tender and poor supply system.

The delay in issuance of injections and drugs purchase tender has hit the project hard, putting lives of hundreds of patients at stake throughout the province.

He said despite clear instruction issued by Provincial Minister for Health Jam Mehtab Hussain Dahar to program management, the supply of injections has not commenced yet to newly registered patients throughout the province.

He said HPCP had registered about 7,000 news hepatitis patients across the Sindh province in last three months out of which 2,000 are in Karachi. They have been put on waiting by program management due shortage of injections and drugs. The program management has not started provision of injections to newly registered patients despite the lapse of three month.

Official said there are 13 hepatitis centres in Karachi operating under hepatitis program where around 2,000 newly registered patients have been deprived from medicines and injections, causing great hardship to hepatitis patients.

The hundreds of registered patients throughout the Sindh province have been visiting the public hospitals on regular basis to get injections but they were being asked by doctors to buy drugs from private medical stores as supply has not started from hepatitis program to centres in compared with demand.

The shortage of injections in hepatitis centres had badly affected program performance as treatment of hepatitis patients was very costly and majority of patients could not afford treatment of disease. He feared that that lives of patients suffering from different types of hepatitis would be at risk if the shortage of medicines continue in future at hepatitis centres.

Program Manger, Hepatitis Prevention and Control Program, Dr Abdul Khaliq Shaikh, when contacted, said consignment of hepatitis has not been received by program management; therefore, supply of drugs is partially disturbed. He said program management had registered 2,932 new patients who were deprived of drugs.

He hoped that supply of medicines and injection will be commenced from month of March. According to a survey conducted to ascertain the number of Hepatitis patients in Sindh, around three million people are living with hepatitis disease in the province.