A special team of doctors deputed by government of India to assess Hepatitis-C endemic in Kokernag area of South Kashmir held a meeting at Sher-e-Kashmir Institute of Medical Sciences Soura on Tuesday. The team which has been deputed to Kashmir on the instructions of Union Health Minister Ghulam Nabi Azad held the meeting with director SKIMS Dr Showkat A Zargar.
In a statement to a local news agency, KNS Public Relations Officer (PRO) SKIMS Kulsoom Bhat said during the meeting discussion to devise a methodology to administer the treatment for endemic was done.
“The meeting was preceded by an exhaustive exchange of views with SKIMS experts from department of gastroenterology, microbiology, immunology and community medicine. Besides financial support Director SKIMS stressed for strengthening of lab at SKIMS and provide required infrastructure both in center and peripheries to ensure better treatment to the patients”, she said.
Associate Professor, Department of Gastroenterology Dr Mushtaq Ahmad Khan gave a comprehensive presentation about the disease prevalent in the areas including Takiya Magam Sonbrari and Zalangam in Kokenag block.
He informed preliminary analysis shows Takiya magma constitutes 62.5% HCV positive, Sonabrari 27.4 percent and 5.26 percent from Zalangam. “The overview and analysis suggests there is immediate need to arrest the spread of infection and treatment of the infected individuals. Experts pressed for treatment of 776 infected patients who suffer chronic hepatitis C which will help to reduce the viral load and spread of infection. The team was informed the treatment is costly and the people being poor can’t afford the treatment ranging from 1.5-3 lakhs/individual depending on the genotype of the virus and weight of the patient,” the PRO said.
Experts from SKIMS while expressing their concern said there should be extensive surveillance and screening for HCV to know the quantum of infection, source of infection and mode of spread and manifestation of the infection and vigorous awareness and health education programs.
The team comprising Dr SK Sarin, Director Institute of Liver and Biliary Sciences, Dr LS Chauhan Director NCDC, New Delhi, Dr SK Acharya HOD Gastroenterology AIIMS, New Delhi, Dr BD Athani, MS Safdarjang Hospital, Dr Sandeep Tyagi, Army R&R Hospital, New Delhi earlier visited the affected district to assess the situation on ground.