The press is full of discussions about Ebola, dengue fever, polio and whatever other disease catches the fancy of our media and our ‘ruling class’ at any given time. I do not for a moment wish to denigrate the efforts to control any disease especially the ones I mention above. But there are other health problems that do not get adequate coverage. And no, I am not referring to a simple matter like waterborne diseases that could be controlled if clean water became available for people to drink.
Let me mention a particular condition that afflicts close to 12 million Pakistanis, more than 20000 new patients acquire this disease every year; a number greater than in any other country in the world, and more than 400 Pakistanis die from this disease every day. And in the Punjab alone there are more than six million people infected with the viruses causing this disease. What disease is this? Well dear readers if you have not figured it out yet, it is what we call Hepatitis C. (Statistics from Jang-Mera Shahr Lahore, October 28, 2014).
Statistics presented in a conference on Hep C held under the aegis of the Punjab Department of Health and as reported in the news item mentioned above suggest that the world over, on the average, one person receives one or two injections every year. However, in Pakistan, the average is between 13 and 14 injections every year and 70 percent of these injections are given using unsterilized needles or syringes.