The Hepatitis Coalition of Sikkim (HepCos) on Saturday criticized the State government’s alleged apathy on diagnosis and treatment of the disease.
Speaking at a programme to mark World Hepatitis Day in Gangtok, the HepCos members claimed that the State Government does not consider Hepatitis C as a major health concern and lacks concrete action to address the situation.
They also criticized the State Government for not doing enough apart from Hepatitis C vaccination for the children way back in early 2000 under a central government scheme.
Speaking on the occasion HepCos coordinator Prashant Sharma said that the State Government needs to conduct adequate research and send it to the Centre.
He also highlighted the fact that Hepatitis is a major health concern for the people of the State.
The coalition which has been advocating for adequate research and free of cost or marginal charged test and treatment for Hepatitis patients said with health being a State subject, the State government should be concerned on the disease.
As per WHO reports, Hepatitis results in six times more death than HIV with India coming second after China with 12 million people affected with Hepatitis C and 40 million with Hepatitis B. According to YRGA and UNODC, Sikkim has seven per cent Hepatitis C virus prevalence.
The HepCos had conducted volunteer based HCV screening in 2015 in which 26 out of 225 people were tested positive.
The HepCos also informed of how the Centre government has come up with a scheme for free test and treatment for Hepatitis B and C patients.
HepCos also organized a sensitization program on Hepatitis in Sikkim for the media persons on the occasion.