Hep-C prevalence rate high in Sajiwa jail

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IMPHAL | Dec 16: The prevalence rate of Hepatitis-C (Hep-C/HCV) among the injecting drug user (IDU) inmates of Manipur Cental Jail, Sajiwa, has been recorded at an alarming rate of 50 percent.

According to a recent initiative taken up by Community Network for Empowerment (CoNE) with different stakeholders of the state on HCV screening in Manipur Central Jail, Sajiwa, it showed an alarming HCV prevalence rate among the prison inmates of drug user’s background.

Out of 50 inmates from the drug user’s community tested for HCV, 62 percent of them were found to be antibody positive and among which 50 percent were confirmed to have chronic infection through HCV RNA test.

It is learnt that two rounds of awareness and screening camps on hepatitis-C has been organised by CoNE for the prison inmates of Manipur Central Jail, Sajiwain association with Nirvana Foundation and technical assistance from BABINA Diagnostics.

The first one was organised on July14 while the second one was held on October 18 last. During the said camps a total of 50 prison inmates were screened out of which 25 of them were confirmed to be RNA positive, a statement release by CoNE said.

As part of its endeavor to provide free hepatitis C treatment exclusively among the prison inmates, CoNE initiated providing free treatment to the jail inmates for the first time in India and most probably in the entire south east Asian countries on September 6, 2017 to 11 of the IDU prison inmates who were confirmed to have hepatitis virus in the first camp organised by CoNE.

In continuation of the free treatment initiative of the organization, the second phase of initiating free treatment was held on Friday at Manipur Central Jail, Sajiwa, it said.

The free treatment for the second phase was reportedly initiated to a total of 12 patients of Manipur Central Jail, Sajiwa. These patients are from the drug users community who were screened on October 18, 2017.

During the camp, a total of 23prison inmates participated. Among them, a total of 15 inmates were found to be anti-body positive. On further confirmatory test of the positive people, 12 of them were confirmed RNA positive. These confirmed patients were initiated free treatment on Friday under the medical supervision of Dr. N Surajkumar Singh, Consultant Hepatologist&Gastroenterologist, JNIMS, the statement further added.

Free treatment for jail inmates have been taken up by CoNE for the first time in India and probably in the entire South East Asian countries, though such initiatives has been reportedly taken up in some American and Australia as well. It is an initiative with a shared responsibility of various stakeholders of the state. CoNE expressed lauded BABINA diagnostics for their technical guidance and complimentary support of all the baseline blood test, the pharma companies for donating the medicine and the prison authorities & Nirvana Foundation for their cooperation in helping us to prove that treatment of Hep-C is accomplishable under prison settings.

With Hep-C becoming an alarming situation in the state, there is the urgent need for the government to take up keen initiatives in the regard and provide free treatment to atleast these sections of the society as an initial step before rolling out free treatment to all the people as done in Punjab and Haryana, it asserted.

Considering the need to provide awareness of Hep-C among the prison inmates and even the paramedic staff and that prison intervention on Hep-C is a must, it observed.

It informed that CoNE will be further conducting screening of the remaining IDU prison inmates on phase manner and see if every positive inmate can be covered in the free treatment initiative.


Source: Imphal Free Press

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