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Posted at: Aug 28, 2018, 2:07 AM; last updated: Aug 28, 2018, 2:07 AM (IST)

Govt slashes hepatitis-C testing rates by 50%

Treatment will be provided at 25 centres — 22 dist hospitals and three govt medical colleges

Karam Prakash

Tribune News Service

Patiala, August 27

In a major move, the Punjab Government has slashed the hepatitis-C testing rates by a whopping 50 per cent. The move came after the state government joined hands with India’s leading testing lab - Core Diagnostics. 

The government has reduced the prices of diagnostic tests HCV (hepatitis-C virus) and RNA (ribonucleic acid) to Rs 881 and Rs 895, respectively. Earlier these tests were for Rs 1,800 each. 

The government has been providing medicines for the disease free of cost, but patients had to pay for the tests. 

Moreover, the same hepatitis-C test costs around Rs 8,000 to Rs 9,000 in a private testing lab. The state will now be providing hepatitis-C treatment at 25 centres i.e. 22 district hospitals and three government medical colleges, including Patiala, Amritsar and Faridkot.

Earlier, the government had a tie-up with Lal Path Lab, which conducted hepatitis test for Rs 1,800. Moreover, patients had to visit only these labs to give blood samples, but with the new tie-up, patients will be able to give samples in any of these 25 centres, whichever is nearest to them. 

Dr Gurmeet Singh, district hepatitis programme officer, Patiala, said: “The move will provide a major boost in the detection of the disease because the prices have been made affordable for the poor.” 

Meanwhile, the World Health Organisation (WHO) has made a global commitment to eliminate all types of viral hepatitis by 2030. Hepatitis-C is an infection caused by a virus that attacks the liver and leads to its inflammation. It is characterised by fever, fatigue, decreased appetite, nausea, vomiting and abdominal pain. The virus can be transmitted by sharing syringe, needles and transfusion of unscreened blood. 

With an aim to eradicate the deadly hepatitis-C from Punjab, the government had started the ‘Mukh Mantri Punjab Hepatitis-C Relief Fund’ on June 6, 2016.

In the latest report published on August 18 by the state government on hepatitis-C patients, the state has reported 51,016 cases between June 7, 2016, and August 18, 2018. 

With 30,063 cases, the Malwa region has the maximum cases in a span of 2 years. Sangrur district alone has recorded 7,404 cases, the highest in the state. This is followed by Tarn Taran with 4,423 cases, Muktsar with 4,040 cases and Patiala with 2,004 cases. 

The situation is better in Pathankot and Mohali districts with 86 and 315 cases, respectively.


Government report

  • The state has reported 51,016 cases between June 7, 2016, and August 18, 2018. 

  • With 30,063 cases, the Malwa region has the maximum cases in a span of two years.

  • Sangrur district has recorded 7,404 cases, the highest in the state.

  • This is followed by Tarn Taran with 4,423 cases, Muktsar with 4,040 cases and Patiala with 2,004 cases. 

  • The situation is better in Pathankot and Mohali districts with 86 and 315 cases, respectively. 

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