The Punjab government has established 108 sample collection centres for the diagnostic tests of Hepatitis - C and 70 such centres for Hepatitis -B across the state where the laboratory tests and investigations would be done free of cost. This was stated here today by the Health and Family Welfare Minister Mr. Surjit Kumar Jayani while presiding over a meeting of the senior officers of the department and the civil surgeons. Addressing the meeting the minister said that the Punjab government has already included chronic diseases of Hepatitis B & C under “Punjab Nirogi Yojana” in which patients falling in BPL category/yellow card holders are entitled to treatment up to Rs. 1.5 lacs. Now the health department has finalized the Rate Contract for Hepatitis B & C medicines to be supplied at subsidized rates at Jan Aushadhi Stores in all the districts against the prescription of treating physician.
Jayani has directed the civil surgeons to ensure the availability of all the facilities extended by the government to the patients so that the proper health care services reach each and every corner of the state. He also said that the Health department has always been striving hard to provide best health care amenities to the general public with a view to minimizing pocket expenditure of the patients with respect of Health Care.Referring to the state government’s initiative to identify the suspected patients of Hepatitis-C, Ms. Vinni Mahajan Secretary Health and Family Welfare said that all patients suspected with the disease would be examined by Physician/Hematologist and would undergo baseline investigation (HCV RNA) for confirmation of diagnosis followed by viral load investigation at 4 weeks, 12 weeks, 24 or 48 weeks and finally 3 months after the end of treatment.
All these lab investigations would be provided free of cost at 108 sample collection centers of designated Lal Path Lab in all districts, as per arrangement with supplying firm as contained in Rate Contract.Mahajan also said that HBV DNA for Hepatitis-B at base line and viral load twice in first year and then every year will also be provided free of cost by SRL laboratory in each district, a designated lab through Ranbaxy Laboratories, supplying drugs for Hepatitis-B at subsidized rates through Jan Aushadhi Stores. These facilities would be available at 70 sample collection centers of SRL in all the districts.With the finalization of the Rate Contract for treatment of Hepatitis B & C and the identification of labs for investigation of Viral Load from time to time, it was expected that dependence on costly investigations and treatment would be subsequently reduced and people at large would derive benefit of this initiative of department. She advised that precautions such as avoiding drug addiction, transfusion of blood from authorized sources only, avoiding multiple use of single needle and syringe etc should be adopted to prevent such deadly viral disease.