TODAY -

43 pc IDUs infected by HCV : Report Limited patients turn up at RIMS MTC
Source: The Sangai Express

Imphal, September 22 2019: Notwithstanding the high prevalence rate of Hepatitis C Virus (HCV) in the State, the number of people coming to RIMS Model Treatment Centre (MTC) to reap the benefits of National Viral Hepatitis Control Programme (NVHCP) is very limited as of now.

On the other hand, RIMS MTC is functioning without any working HCV-RNA test machine which compels the centre to rely on JNIMS MTC for HCV RNA PCR test which is a requisite blood test in HCV treatment to detect presence of genetic material of HCV or its ribonucleic acid (RNA) and anti-bodies.

Information collected from RIMS MTC revealed that the total number of clients who have been avai- ling the benefits of NVHCP till yesterday (September 19) is just 44 .



43 pc IDUs infected by HCV : Report Limited patients turn up at RIMS MTC
43 pc IDUs infected by HCV : Report Limited patients turn up at RIMS MTC


According to the NVHCP, NHM-Manipur State Nodal Officer Dr RK Rosie, the number of patients who turn up at RIMS-MTC under NVHCP is lower than the expected number.

Although she reasoned that enrolment of patients at ProjectHEAD - Start Hepatitis C Treatment, a free Hepatitis C diagnosis and treatment project taken up by YRG CARE and FIND in Imphal East, Imphal West, adjoining areas and Churachandpur could be an important factor for low turn up at RIMS MTC, it was found out that the project has a total limited slot/target of 2500 while an independent survey conducted by CoNE in 2018 estimated that 43 percent of the IDUs in the State and their spouses have already been infected by HCV.

It is also estimated that the number of HCV infected persons among IDUs and their spouses may have rose as the number of IDUs in the State has increased to over 34,000 according to the latest survey report of the Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment (MoSJE).

Dr Rosie further informed that the MTC initially started providing free HCV medicines to the clients who approached the said centre to reap NVHCP benefits after conducting necessary screening tests at authorized laboratories at their own costs.

The nodal officer conveyed that RIMS MTC is also sending its clients to JNIMS laboratory for conducting HCV-RNA test as of now while claiming that efforts are on to install a HCV-RNA testing equipment at RIMS MTC too.

When asked about the requisite manpower at the MTC, she replied that the State Health Department has already provided a Medical Officer, one Pharmacist, one Data operator and a lab technician each to the MTCs opened at RIMS and JNIMS.

The NVHCP MTCs are being opened at selective Government hospitals having adequate infrastructure and manpower, most favourably in tertiary care sectors.

For RIMS, there are two gastroenterologists besides the existing tertiary care settings.

Notably, NVHCP is a huge health care initiative being implemented throughout the country with multi- ple aims, such as combating viral hepatitis and achieve country wide elimination of Hepatitis C by 2030.More than 290 million people, including children are living with viral Hepatitis without actually knowing it.

Realizing that more people will be infected and more lives will be lost unless there is a massive scale-up in screening, diagnosis and linkage to care, World Hepatitis Alliance (WHA) initiated a three-year global campaign called "Find the Missing Millions" in 2018.This three-year global awareness- raising and advocacy campaign aims at tackling the main barriers to diagnosis by putting civil society organisations and the affected community at the heart of the solution.

The National Viral Hepatitis Control Program was launched by Ministry of Health and Family Welfare on the occasion of the World Hepatitis Day, 28th July 2018.It is an integrated initiative for prevention and control of viral hepatitis in India to achieve Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) which aims to put an end to viral hepatitis by 2030.This is a comprehensive plan covering the entire gamut from Hepatitis A, B, C, D & E, and the whole range from prevention, detection and treatment to mapping treatment outcomes.

However, only free HCV treatment has been rolled out in the State as of now.

The aims of NVHCP also include achieving significant reduction of the infected population, morbidity and mortality associated with Hepatitis B and C viz.

Cirrhosis and Hepato-cellular carcinoma (liver cancer) and reducing the risk, morbidity and mortality due to Hepatitis A and E.The key objectives of the said programme include enhancing community awareness on hepatitis and lay stress on preventive measures among general population, specially high-risk groups.


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