Punjab introduces free testing, treatment of Hepatitis B in all govt health institutions

Health Minister Balbir Sidhu said that Punjab had introduced free tests and treatment for Hepatitis C about five years ago

Punjab introduces free testing, treatment of Hepatitis B in all govt health institutions

Photo for representation.

Chandigarh, June 22

Punjab government has introduced free testing and treatment of Hepatitis B in all government health institutions, Health Minister Balbir Singh Sidhu said on Tuesday.

Presiding over the state-wide launch of the initiative at district hospital in Mohali, Sidhu said the state government has introduced Hepatitis B screening tests and treatment in all medical colleges, District Hospitals (DHs), Sub-Divisional Hospitals (SDHs) and AntiRetroviral Treatment (ART) and Oral Substitution Therapy (OST) centres.

“In addition, Hepatitis B viral load testing facility will be extended at 27 centres, free of cost for the benefit of marginalized sections,” he said.

“State Health Department has entered into a rate contract with Oncquest Laboratories under which they have provided a laboratory technician at every District Hospital and Government Medical College. 

“Hepatitis B samples will be taken at these institutions from the patient free of cost, while the cost of the test will be reimbursed to the lab at the rate of Rs 851 by the state government,” he said, as per an official statement.

“The line of treatment for Hepatitis B is extensive and expensive but the state government will give free medicine to the concerned. Even the Hepatitis B positive Punjab patients under treatment in PGIMER will be provided medicine free of cost,” informed Sidhu.

He said that a nodal officer has been deputed in PGIMER for the same and has been handed over stock of requisite medicines.

The minister said that Punjab had introduced free tests and treatment for Hepatitis C about five years ago.

The Hepatitis C treatment centres have been increased from 25 to 66. So far about 96,000 patients in Punjab have been treated for Hepatitis C free of cost, he said.

“The treatment of Hepatitis C continued even during Covid pandemic. In the year 2020, about 12,000 patients were treated for Hepatitis C and during the current year by May, approximately 4,900 patients have been treated,” he said.

Regarding Covid-19 vaccination, he said about 61 lakh people have been vaccinated so far and awareness activities and testing has been increased in rural areas.

Sidhu cautioned the people against lowering the guard and exhorted them to abide by Covid-19 related guidelines. PTI

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