Chandigarh, July 28, 2020: Enthused by the 93 percent cure rate of Hepatitis treatment in the State, Punjab Government has decided to dedicate 35 additional treatment centres for Hepatitis C.
This program started with 25 treatment centres, and now, in 2020, Punjab State has increased the treatment sites to 60.
This was disclosed by the Health & Family Minister Balbir Singh Sidhu on the occasion of ‘World Hepatitis Day’.
The Minister said that Punjab was the first State in India to start Hepatitis C treatment and since then, we have tested more than 1.63 lakh persons.
Of these, 85,000 people were put on treatment of Hepatitis C and all services were free in Govt Hospitals.
Sidhu said that last year, on World Hepatitis Day, the Punjab Government started free treatment of Hepatitis C in jails where screening of inmates was done inside prisons and treatment of Hepatitis C provided in jails.
This year, a Special Drive would be conducted to screen all pregnant women for Hepatitis B and children for Hepatitis B Immunoglobulin (HBIG) born to the hepatitis B infected mothers.
Punjab became also become the first state to initiate Hepatitis C testing and treatment of people living with HIV under the Unitaid-supported HEAD-Start program in partnership with FIND and CHAI, he added.
Under this campaign, testing of around 80 percent of people living with HIV have been completed.
The Health Minister stated that SDH (Sub-District Hospital) Batala would be the first Sub-Divisional Hospital to provide testing and treatment of Hepatitis C.
The Cabinet Minister said that all of this was possible only because of our highly motivated healthcare workers backed by the strong political will to combat viral hepatitis.
He said that today, the whole world is fighting with COVID-19 and it has taught us the importance of a robust public health system.
There is a need to bridge the gap between multiple programs through collaborative efforts, partnerships, and integration within the existing healthcare system.