KARACHI: Health experts have stressed that blood must be screened for infections with highest standard methods to reduce the risk of transfusion transmitted infections (TTI) in the recipients.
Nucleic Acid Testing (NAT) is a highly sensitive and advanced technique which has reduced the window period of TTIs so increase the safety of Blood Transfusion. All registered blood banks should be encouraged to use NAT to improve screening standards in the province.
They were addressing at a public awareness seminar held to mark World Hepatitis Day by Husaini Haematology & Oncology Trust (HHOT) at its head office located in north nazimabad.
Dr. Zulfiqar Dharejo, Program Manager, Prevention & Control of Hepatitis and Dr. Zahid Ansari, Secretary Sindh Blood Transfusion Authority were present as chief guest and guest of honor respectively. Other speakers included Prof. Syed Muhammad Irfan, Head, Department of Haematology, Liaquat National Medical College Hospital Karachi, Dr. S. Sarfaraz H. Jafry, Senior Transfusion Physician, HHOT, Dr. Agha Umer Daraz Khan, Chief Pathologist, HHOT, Dr. Ashraf Memon, Senior Pathologist, Kharadar General Hospital. Asad Ali CEO HHOT and Syed Jibran Ahmed, CFO also spoke.
Transfusion experts told that NAT is a highly sensitive and advanced technique which has reduced the window period of TTIs so increase the safety of Blood Transfusion.
Prof. Syed Muhammad Irfan talked about thallasaemia diagnosis, treatment and prevention. He said that blood screening is very vital process for survival of thallasaemia patients. Techniques of screening of blood donors should be done at high standards like NAT being the most modern tool.
Dr. Agha Umer Draz Khan said that Nucleic Acid Testing is a molecular technique for screening blood donations to reduce the risk of transfusion transmitted infections (TTIs) in the recipients. It was introduced in the developed countries in the late 1990s and early 2000s.
Japanese Red Cross Society started NAT screening for HBV, HCV, and HIV since July, 1999 while Australia started it since June 2000. Almost 33 countries in the world have implemented NAT for human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), 27 countries for hepatitis B virus (HBV) and most of developed countries are doing NAT for HBV,HCV,HIV+1& HIV-11, he added.
NAT greatly helps to reduce window period as it is a highly sensitive and advanced technique. As per different studies, it has reduced the window period of HBV to 10.34 days, HCV to 1.34 days and HIV to 2.93 days, he referred.
Dr. Agha Umer Draz Khan urged Sindh Blood Transfusion Authority (SBTA) to advice all registered blood banks to start this latest technique to provide safest blood to recipients.
DR Ashraf Memon told doctors about interpretation of markers of hepatitis with special emphasis on HBV. With the help of these hepatitis viral markers, they can treat the patient in better way, he added.
Dr. Sarfaraz Jafry delivered presentation on safe blood transfusion with subject “Vein to Vein blood transfusion.” Blood components should be used rationally and unrational use of blood transfusion creates complication for patient. Mass awareness is very much needed in general public at large and specifically in healthcare providers, he stressed.
Prof. Syed Muhammad Irfan spoke about the Review of Thallassaemia in Pakistan and status of Hepatitis in Thallassamic Patients. He described the diagnosis, treatment and prevention of hepatitis in such patients.
Chief guest Dr. Zulfiqar Dharejo said that hepatitis program has started three months therapy for patients to provide them most needed treatment. Hepatitis patients are being provided free diagnosis and complete treatment. As many as 75 sites are functioning in the province where facilities of screening and diagnosis etc. PCR is also being provided free of charge, he added.
He announced to have a treatment site at Husaini head office and to provide therapy for hepatitis patients immediately till the registration process is completed. He asked management to share patients list.
Dr. Zahid Ansari told that Sindh Blood Transfusion Authority will advice regional blood centres to adopt NAT in blood donors screening and a letter will soon be sent to them. Two of four regional blood centres are already functional while remaining two will start in one month,” he added.
Prevalence of hepatitis B is 2.5 and hepatitis C is 4.8k percent worldwide and 325 million people are affected with these viruses. As many as 1.4 million new people are being infected every year adding this number. News Desk