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By Ashfaq Yusufzai
PESHAWAR – An estimated 13.5m Pakistanis suffer from hepatitis B or C in Pakistan, an official said March 14. “About 3-4 % (of the general population) had hepatitis B (6m) and 5-6 % (7.5m) were infected with (hepatitis C),” Dr. Ibadul Haq of the National Programme for Prevention and Control of Hepatitis told Central Asia Online.
The government will spend Rs. 6 billion (US $66.2m) over five years to reduce the infection rate. Every year 200,000 patients will receive free treatment under the programme, Haq said. Installation of incinerators at hospitals and construction of water filtration plants are also part of the plan, he said.
Unsafe drinking water, unscreened blood transfusions and dirty syringes help spread the disease.