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59 Hepatitis treatment centres established in three years duration in Punjab

59 Hepatitis treatment centres established in three years duration in Punjab

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Chandigarh (Punjab) [India], February 15 (ANI): In view of extending the medical benefits to high-risk groups, the Punjab government established 59 Hepatitis treatment centres in three years in the state under National Viral Hepatitis Control Programme (NVHCP) to treat such patients across the country, a statement from the state government said on Monday.
Punjab Health Minister Balbir Singh Sidhu: "Punjab was the first state to initiate free of cost treatment of Hepatitis C in the country. Till date, 1.83 lakh persons have been screened for Hepatitis C here and 91,403 patients have been initiated on free treatment of it. All 59 treatment centers are actively functional at 22 district hospitals, 3 GMCs, 13 ART centers, 11 OST sites, 9 central prisons and one SDH."
Sidhu also said that three designated Model Treatment Centres (MTCs) namely Department of Hepatology, PGIMER, Chandigarh, Government Medical College Patiala and Faridkot have been doing capacity building of the Medical Specialists and doctors of the State in management of Hepatitis C. Treatment services are also being provided to the referred patients at these MTCs.
"Approximately, 74,000 patients have completed the treatment with the cure rate of 93 per cent in Punjab and all the baseline tests, viral load test and treatment is being provided free of cost to all patients without any disparity," he added.
Underlining the initiative taken by the state government, Sidhu said that Punjab became the first state in 2017 when screening and management of Hepatitis C was initiated among all HIV positive patients at 13 ART centres and IVDUs (Intravenous Drug Users) at OST centres under PSACS. He also said that about 28000 HIV positive persons have been screened for Hepatitis C and more than 2,600 have been put on free treatment.
"This free of cost treatment services had provided much relief to all patients as treatment and medicines of Hepatitis is expensive and difficult to bear its expenses," he said.
Highlighting the action taken to secure the high-risk groups in prisons, the Health Minister stated that government also became the first state to start screening of prison inmates for Hepatitis C in collaboration with FIND (Foundation of Innovative New Diagnostics) and CHAI (Clinton Health Access Initiative) under which 15,000 inmates of 9 central prisons have been screened and around 1,300 inmates have been provided free treatment of Hepatitis C till date.
The government has further initiated the screening of other high-risk groups as decentralised model which includes pregnant females. (ANI)

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