CDC HIV/AIDS/Viral Hepatitis/STD/TB Prevention News UpdateINDIA: Fresh Cases of Hepatitis C Detected in Old City: DAK
By Mudasir Yaqoob
January 13, 2014
Greater Kashmir (01.10.2014)
Greater Kashmir reported that a Doctors Association of Kashmir (DAK) survey revealed that 90 percent of hepatitis C-infected residents of Shaher-e-Khaas (Old City) remained partially or completely untreated because they could not afford expensive hepatitis C treatment. DAK President Nisar-ul-Hassan stated that Old City hepatitis C incidence during the last two weeks totaled seven new cases; some new diagnoses occurred in families where all members had hepatitis C. Hassan noted that some individuals had to stop treatment halfway through the recommended regimen, which resulted in relapse. Estimates for treatment cost ranged from “2 lakhs for one patient” to “3 to 5 lakhs.”
Kashmir’s Minister for Health and Medical Education Taj Mohi Ud Din asserted that the state government had requested unsuccessfully that the Government of India provide funding to cover hepatitis C treatment for low-income patients. However, the Union Secretary for the Department of Health and Family Welfare K.N. Desiraju countered that his department had examined hepatitis C incidence in south Kashmir last year and had received no new communication from the state. Desiraju promised he would investigate the newly reported cases in south Kashmir and Old City and would take prompt action based on his findings.
In the interim, DAK asserted that the association would provide free treatment for hepatitis-C infected patients as necessary.