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7.5 million hepatitis C patients in Pakistan
  By Muhammad Qasim
There are 7.5 million patients of hepatitis C in Pakistan and the number is still on the rise, said consultant herpetologist at Holy Family Hospital Dr. Mohammad Umar while speaking on topical issues of hepatitis on the second day of a scientific conference here.
The Rawalpindi Medical College (RMC) organised a scientific conference on 'Research - A Tool for Development in the 21st Century' on December 14-15. The scientific programme of the conference concluded on Saturday evening. The scientific programme was followed by a general body meeting of Rawalians (Association of Old and Current Graduates of Rawalpindi Medical College), which was largely attended.
Dr. Mohammad Umar said that the hepatitis C treatment is carried out by Interferon and Ribavirin, but it can now be cured by Pegylated Interferon (a newer treatment). The Pakistan Society of Gastroenterology has been formulating guidelines for the treatment of hepatitis C which are internationally approved.
Dr. Bushra Khar said that about six million people are infected with hepatitis B in Pakistan. "The treatment is now easily available with newer drugs orally and every patient may not need interferon injections in chronic hepatitis B," she said. She stressed on the need for hepatitis B vaccination, particularly in children.
In another component of medicine and allied session, the Gastrointestinal Diseases Video Forum, which was the latest way of documenting and showing and teaching GI and liver diseases and their latest therapy, was utilised to elaborate the topic.
On the second day of the conference, five parallel sessions on surgical and allied techniques, medical and allied techniques, reproductive health, ophthalmology and mental health were held.
Professor Dr. Nusrat Ara presented a talk on 'Latest Trends in Management of Chronic Congestive Cardiac Failure' and Dr. Imran Saeed on 'Latest Trends in treatment of Hypertension.' Dr. Iqbal Rehmatullah from Saudia Arabia talked about the latest trends in management of acute myocardial infarction.
Professor Hamid Hassan coordinated the surgical and allied session wherein major areas related to breast cancer were covered. Two distinguished Rawalians from UK presented their work in this session.
Professor Asma Usmani coordinated the session on gynaecology. Prominent gynaecologists, including Professor Rizwan Chaudhry, Professor Fehmida Shaheen and Dr. Shaugfta Sial delivered lectures in this session.
The opthalmology session was coordinated by Professsor Syed Imtiaz Ali.
University of Health Sciences (Lahore) Vice Chancellor Professor Mubashir chaired the session on mental health that was co-chaired by Professor Fareed Minhas of RMC.
The conference concluded with the general body meeting of Rawalians that was attended by Rawalpindi Medical College Alumni Association of Physicians in North America President Dr. Shahid Rafiq and Dr. Asif Zia from the UK Alumni. Dr. Imran Majeed from UAE and Dr. Ibrar from Australia were also present on the occasion.
Professor Muhammad Umar (president of the Rawalians) chaired the meeting wherein new office-bearers were elected. Dr. Saqib Abbasi was elected as president of the Rawalians. Vice presidents are Dr. Irfan Syed, Dr. Rizwana Chaudhry, Dr. Khalid Saeed and Dr. Riaz Sheikh. Dr. Shehzad Ahmed would continue as general secretary. Professor Bushra Khar was elected as chairman of the Medical Education Committee and Professor Fareed Minhas co-chairman. Dr. Nadeem Afraz was elected as international coordinator while Dr. Sarwar Jehangir, Dr. Mairaj and Dr. Shazia as joint secretaries. Professor Muhammad Umar will be the patron while Professor Mussadiq Khan will be patron-in-chief.
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