Hepatitis C (HCV) is a significant public health concern in Pakistan with one of the world’s highest infection and HCV-related deaths yearly. It is estimated that during the peak of the Covid pandemic in Pakistan, hepatitis killed three to four times more people than Covid-19. Pakistan loses around 24,000 people yearly to complications from hepatitis C such as chronic liver disease, cirrhosis and hepatocellular carcinoma, which is the most common type of liver cancer
Addressing the root of the problem and accelerating hepatitis C elimination efforts in Pakistan requires a long-term vision and political will. As a leader in in-vitro diagnostics, Roche is committed to supporting the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals to eradicate hepatitis by 2030 by working with key stakeholders to transform the healthcare system for better disease monitoring and health outcomes.
In this regard, Roche Diagnostics Pakistan organized a dialogue on hepatitis C elimination with distinguished experts from Pakistan, USA, Egypt and APAC who exchanged diverse experiences to provoke conversations to help accelerate Pakistan’s hepatitis elimination response.
The event was attended by senior gastroenterologists and haematologists including Prof. Dr. Saad Khalid Niaz, Prof. Dr. Huma Qureshi National Focal Person for Viral Hepatitis, Special Assistant to Prime Minister (SAPM) on Health Dr. Mahesh Kumar Malani, Prof. Shehla Zaidi from Aga Khan University, Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Islamabad Healthcare Regulatory Authority (IHRA) Dr. Quaid Saeed, Sindh Healthcare Commission Chief Executive Dr. Ahson Qavi Siddiqui, Prof. Dr. Nasim Akhtar from PIMS and other senior health officials.
Speaking at the event, senior gastroenterologist from Egypt Dr. Wael Abdel-Razek said his country had highest prevalence of Hepatitis C in the world a few years back but the country’s leadership decided to control and manage the viral ailment and within a few years, Hepatitis C has nearly been wiped out from Egypt.
Prof. Dr. Saeed Hamid, a renowned gastroenterologist and head of clinical trials at Aga Khan University Hospital shared, “With 13 million people infected with Hepatitis B and C in Pakistan, more than 25,000 people would require liver transplants due to liver cirrhosis and other complications caused by viral hepatitis every year. At the moment, not more than 1,000 liver transplants are carried out throughout the country in a year.”
Transforming the diagnostics ecosystem is only possible through partnerships that address the persistent, but solvable challenges patients face across their health journey. As an experienced leader in infectious disease, Roche Diagnostics Pakistan has stepped up as a trusted partner to provide patient-focused, reliable and long-standing services by delivering robust screening assays and instruments to contribute towards enabling a hepatitis-free Pakistan.
Addressing the event attendees, Abdul Qayyum, Country Manager – Roche Diagnostics Pakistan & Afghanistan said, “Increasing access to diagnostics is central to improving health across Pakistan. As dedicated partners in disease elimination efforts, Roche Diagnostics Pakistan is actively working with key public and private stakeholders to improve the ways diagnostics are delivered and achieve the global infectious disease elimination goals. We are committed towards ensuring a hepatitis-free Pakistan by enabling sustainable access to world-class diagnostics for the people who need them, when they need them – no matter where they live in Pakistan.”