Anantnag: Two months after the Government Medical College (GMC) Srinagar carried out a survey on the prevalence of Hepatitis-C in south Kashmir, health authorities have woken up to the situation and started a mass screening across entire Anantnag district.
The health department has started screening from medical block Larnoo in Kokernag area where the virus has engulfed almost entire two villages, Magam and Sonabrarie. At least 1,200 people were infected with the deadly virus during the random screening conducted by the health department in the village in 2013. Among the infected cases, more than two-hundred were boys below the age of 16.
Chief Medical Officer Anantnag Dr Fazil Ali Kochak confirmed that the department is going to conduct mass screening in all the medical blocks of the district. “We have started from Larnoo block and will cover all the blocks in a phased manner,” the CMO told Kashmir Reader.
The study carried out by the Department of Medicine, GMC, titled ‘Hepatitis C prevalence rate among adult population in south Kashmir’ had shown 3.8 percent population in Anantnag district infected with the virus. The next highest incidence was 1.3 percent in Shopian district and 1.2 percent in Kulgam district. In Magam village, the study had found 28 percent population infected with Hepatitis C, a disease that damages the liver and is often fatal.
“We had already decided to carry out a mass screening in the district after the virus was detected in two villages of Kokernag in 2013. Following the GMC study, we went for it without delay,” the CMO told Kashmir Reader.
He said that in the villages of Larnoo block, where the screening has been done, the situation is not alarming. “Out of every one-thousand persons, five to six people were found positive. But we are yet to carry out the screening in the two most affected villages of the block,” Dr Fazil said.
After the screening is complete in the entire district, the CMO said they will submit the findings to the government.
A doctor posted in Kokernag said that the mass screening was a good first step. “The screening will give a clear idea of whether the situation is alarming or not. In the twin villages of Magam and Sonabrarie, the mass screening should have been done long ago because the situation was so grim in these villages that we could not afford to ignore it,” the doctor told Kashmir Reader.