Visit of patients to RIMS MTC low: Nodal Officer

IMPHAL, 21st Sep: State Nodal Officer Dr Roji has stated that the number of patients visiting the Model Treatment Centre (MTC) opened at RIMS under the National Viral Hepatitis Control Programme (NVHCP) is quite low compared to the numbers estimated initially.
Speaking to The People’s Chronicle, Dr Roji informed that the Centre was opened with the objective of controlling the high number of Hepatitis-C cases in the state. However, the number of patients visiting the centre has gone down considerably owing to the free diagnostic and treatment provided by YRG Care and FIND at Imphal East, Imphal West and Churachandpur districts. Those who are not able to access the treatment at YRG Care and FIND come to the MTCs at RIMS and JNIMS for treatment.
Stating that the project taken up by YRG Care and FIND is time based and number limited, the State Nodal Officer remarked that it is possible that the patient flow to MTC could increase once the project concludes. Presently, the MTC at RIMS and JNIMS are staffed by a medical officer, pharmacist, data operator and lab technician, and provided free treatment to patients. The centres are opened only at government hospitals with adequate equipment and infrastructure. However, there are plans to open similar centres at all district hospitals, she added.
Dr Roji continued that due to non-availability of HCV-RNA test machines at the centre at RIMS, the patients are referred to JNIMS for the tests. Nonetheless, efforts are underway to install the machines at RIMS as soon as possible. As of now, 44 patients have been treated at RIMS MTC free of cost.
Meanwhile, according to a survey, it has been found that around 43 percent of IDUs and their spouses in the state have been afflicted with the disease. In addition, a report by the Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment has stated that the rise of Hep-C cases among IDUs and their spouses are due to rise of IDUs in the state, she conveyed.
Stating that NVPHC has set a target to eradicate Hep-C from India by 2030, Dr Roji said that the programme is being taken up pan-India to identify those who have been affected by the disease and provide them with the necessary treatment as soon as possible.
Mention may be made here that around 290 million people are living across the globe, unaware that they are afflicted with viral hepatitis. It is estimated that several more million people are living with the disease. As such, the World Hepatitis Alliance (WHC) had launched the three-year long ‘Find the Missing Million” campaign in 2018, with the objective of conducting mass screening and diagnosis to identify the affected people and providing them with the necessary treatments.

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