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The-Silent-Killer-Hepatitis-Free-Pakistan-A-Short-Story-Based-on-You-and-Your-Loved-Ones-Chughtai-Lab-1

The Silent Killer – A Story of You and Your Loved Ones

She came home excited. Little zara had her ears pierced. Shiny white pearls were glistening in her tiny ears. I’m going to be able to wear your earrings henceforth she excitedly proclaimed !

Hussain looked like a prince from a fairy tale.

The barber had done an amazing job. His well trimmed beard and chic hair cut made him outstand  amidst everyone. This groom was going to rock it.

Abbas was so happy to hold his baby daughter in his hands. She was like an angel. His wife Sadia was  however unwell.she had lost a lot of blood during the delivery. They had demanded an immediate transfusion. Abbas had sought blood like a madman. He had to save his child’s mother. A beggar outside the hospital offered him his blood in return for some money and he had agreed.anything to save her life and the moment

Fouad had just graduated with honours. And like all his friends it was time for a vacation. It was beautiful in Thailand . Beaches and the sun. Yet youth has its forbidden temptations calling and he had given away to it too.one night when it had gotten a bit too much to his head he doesn’t remember much but woke up in a tattoo massage Parlor/ night club with a random woman who had looted him off his valet or for then that’s all it seemed like.  His arm had a tattoo across it and his eyes seemed heavy.he had gathered his clothes and buried his harmless little sin in his heart for years to come

Life goes on and yes it does . We dream,we aspire,we work towards our goals and then we wait to relish it’s fruit. And so we’re Zara,Hussain, Abbas and Fouad focused in their lives.

Zara had completed high school and was aspiring to join college. She had always wanted to be an astronaut.

Hussain had set up his own small business and it was running well. He had plans to have a happy married life with his beautiful wife and 2 kids and eventually start a restaurant of his own .

Abbas had just bought a new home for sadia and they were planning to set it up .after all these years of hard work it was finally time to enjoy n relax.

Fouad was now a very successful doctor .And was back from the USA after completing his residency.he planned to have his own practice

But…… Life is what happens when we least expect it . Today I met them

Zara Hussain Sadia and Fouad lying in the same ward grappling between life and death.

With swollen fluid filled bellies, delirious minds, a wasted appearance,pale yellow eyes,tired sick and dying…….dying of a condition better known to us as hepatitis

Hepatitis is a word we hear so frequently. Yet how many of us really know what it really Is,what caused it,what are its complications and what can be done to prevent it and how can we treat it, how serious is it and how is it affecting our nation and our future.

Hepatitis  is basically a liver  disease where in our liver the main detoxifying organ of our body gets injured and as a result gets  inflamed.

Inflammation is not only a painful swelling but a condition that impairs the normal functioning of an organ. Alcohol,drugs and viruses can cause hepatitis. The viruses responsible are A,B,C,D and E. the liver produces proteins in our body, It gets rid of unwanted toxins and stores glucose along with many other vital functions. When it gets affected not only are these functions impaired but the rest of our body functions including kidneys, brain and lungs get affected as well.

At the beginning what might appear as nausea,vomiting,fever, abdominal pain,weight loss,poor appetite,yellowing of skin,lethargy  and dark urine with all symptoms of jaundice if left undetected and untreated can first evolve into a more severe form causing fluid accumulation in the lungs and limbs, and impair the brain. Before it turns into fatal liver cancer.  Hepatitis A and E are what are better known to as only jaundice where in the patient suffers from a short term illness and is cured completely in 2 to 3 weeks. These only cause fever and nausea and the person stays sick for a while .with medicines they are cured and back to normal. Contaminated food and unhygienic conditions being the main culprit as the route of transmission is oro fecal.

Hand washing and proper food handling with practices discouraging outside food and stressing the importance of sanitary hygiene is sufficient to prevent it .

Hepatitis B and C are what cause long term illness and are the silent killers. Hepatitis C is most common in our country. Thousands of people carry it not knowing it and spread  it and this is what makes it an epidemic. Before they themselves discover it  a decade later they have  not only infected so many others but also this symptom less silent monster inside  them has by then caused  irreversible liver damage  to them leading to liver cancer.

It is this awareness that is pivotal and the need of the hour. The common man needs to know how is this deadly disease spread and what are the precautions needed. Had fouad  zara Abbas and Hussain known they would not be at the stage they are today.  Hepatitis virus is transmitted via blood, semen,Saliva and other body fluids. Use of infected toothbrush,needles,blades,scissors and transfusion of infected blood, from an infected mother to her child and unprotected sexual intercourse. This is how Zara was pierced with an infected needle in her ears. The blade the barber used on Hussain while shaving his beard,the blood Abbas had arranged for his wife to be transfused with and the tattoo needle and escort fouad had encountered in his trip all were infected.  Infected and carriers that sowed in them the seeds of this deadly killer . Little had they known how careful they should have been in using contaminated needles and blades they wouldn’t have met this fate. And even if they had acquired the virus a regular screening test with hepatitis B and C screening would have detected it in time. As part of as an annual check up,pre employment routine, pre admission requirement or even a general physical examination in a regular doctor’s visit could have identified the culprit in time . A course of oral medications or injectables called interferon  would have cured them. A PCR polymerase chain reaction test would detect the quantity of virus left and establish the efficacy of the treatment and hence would have ensured that no more people were infected by the carriers and their own disease would never progress to such a grave level where they would lose not only life quality but would have to struggle to remain alive.

There is nothing more painful then helplessness in the face of death .

The turmoil of watching a loved one succumb to this and the incapacity to be able to snatch from life a few more moments to cherish is a test no one should have to endure.

Just a little awareness and timely screening with compliant treatment could have saved all these lives,ensured all these dreams.

We didn’t just lose aspiring professionals,great ideas,magnificent discoveries and beautiful families we lost life in the face of a disease that could so easily be prevented and cured.

The Qur’an repeatedly reads as God tries to tell us that there are signs for those of you who want to find . And we ignore them. Signs are right there speaking to us to take timely action but we in our oblivious ignorance wait till it’s too late to complain.

We at our lab are about hope. We are a mission.  We are a health reform . A movement. We are here to help free Pakistan of this disease via tests,screening, vaccination, awareness and treatment . We are here as dream catchers to hold on to those innocent soaring ideas that need time and a fair chance in life to evolve into the butterflies they deserve  to be . And we shall ensure that.

Let us today join hands to spread the word . To fight it back.  To erase it from its core . Let us hand our children a hepatitis  free healthy Pakistan….

Article By: Dr Tahira Shahid 

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