Hepatitis-C outbreak in South Kashmir

SRINAGAR: The Union Health ministry has agreed to bear costs of treatment for Bellow Poverty Line (BPL) patients suffering from Hepatitis-C in South Kashmir, where the government has found 787 people with Hepatitis-C disease in just two villages of Larnoo block in Anantnag district.

Well placed sources in union health ministry said, that the state health department has already been conveyed that treatment of hepatitis-C patients cannot be sponsored as there is no such programme being run under the union health ministry.

“We don’t have any such programme or scheme which will cover the costs of treatment of such patients.  And if we sponsor treatment of these patients of South Kashmir, this will become a precedent. The disease being universal, tomorrow, we may receive the proposals for sponsorship of treatment from other states as well,” a senior officer in the union health ministry said.   

A senior officer in the union health ministry said: “We have already conveyed to state government that we are ready to sponsor treatment of BPL patients suffering from Hepatitis-C for which have few schemes. And this has been conveyed to the state government as well.”

Pertinently, hundreds of patients in Takia Magam and Sonabarie are infected with Hepatitis-C and are waiting for the government’s help. The disease in these two villages was detected in January last year. Special teams comprising of noted liver disease doctors from AIIMS and other prestigious hospitals of the country had visited the area who submitted their reports. According to those reports, over 60 percent of the population from two villages in Larnoo block was diagnosed with Hepatitis-C.

Dr Saleem-u-Rehman, director health services Kashmir when contacted said: “We have already identified 787 cases of hepatitis-C in two villages of Takia Magam in Larnoo block of Anantnag district. We may need Rs 9 to 11 Crores for their treatment which includes different kind of tests. We have already sought central government assistance but we are awaiting response for the same.”

The BMO Larnoo block, however, clarified that in last two months only four deaths have taken place in takia Magam and out of those four, only one died because of Hepatitis-C. “The other deaths attributed to this disease were diagnosed of different diseases. Shugufta, 35, wife of Syed Zakir died because of hepatitis-C.  This is the only detah that ha staken place in last two months because of this fatal disease in Takia Magam,” said BMO Larnoo.

Rush Spl Teams To Affected Areas: Tarigami

Expressing serious concern over the grim healthcare scenario in South Kashmir State Secretary CPI (M) Mohammad Yousuf Tarigami has said that the outbreak Hepatitis-C disease in many parts of south Kashmir was due government’s dismal performance in taking the requisite preventive measures.

While referring to media reports the CPI (M) leader regretted that the epidemic had resulted in the death of 10 people in two months while many others are battling for their lives in various hospitals.

Criticizing the health department for sleeping over the issue and delaying the notification of the disease to the World Health Organization, Tarigami has asked the government to formulate a comprehensive contingency plan to curb the disease.

“Government should activate the Health Department and concerned research centre’s so that the causes of diseases are traced and dealt with effectively. Besides this, teams of experts be deputed to these areas to go deep into the causative agents which have resulted into outbreak of this deadly disease,” the CPI(M) leader demanded. He has demanded that the government should bear the full costs of treatment of the people affected by this disease in these areas. 

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