Prime Minister’s programme to control the high prevalence of Hepatitis C virus in Pakistan, has been in its final phase of preparation. The government will launch a comprehensive programme for the testing, treatment and elimination of Hepatitis C from the country. The government has sent Rs70 billion PC-I to the Planning Commission for final approval, according to sources. Punjab will get 51 percent of the allocation, which will be around 37 billion rupees. According to reports, the prevalence of the virus has doubled among Pakistanis in the past ten years affecting more than 10 percent of the population. Hepatitis C is considered a national public health emergency in Pakistan and that’s why a comprehensive programme is being launched at the federal level to combat the virus, said the sources. Under the Prime Minister’s programme 140 million people, between 12 to 80 years, will be screened. In Punjab 80 million people will be screened for Hepatitis C virus with teams visiting home to home, like the anti-polio programme in the country. In case of a positive test the patients will be provided with a free PCR test and medicines. A survey report indicates 8.9 percent prevalence of Hepatitis C virus in Punjab’s population, while the prevalence rate of the virus in Pakistan has been seven percent. The data shows that in Pakistan about 15 million out of 210 million population will likely be found positive, sources said. Globally Pakistan has the highest prevalence of Hepatitis C following Egypt, sources said. Common mode of transmission for Hepatitis B, C and D includes improperly screened blood transfusion or blood products, improperly sterilized invasive medical devises, unsafe injections and unsafe sex. Hepatitis leads to severe complications such as liver cirrhosis, liver cancer, and early mortality. It is pertinent to mention here that two Americans Harvey Alter and Charles Rice with Briton Michael Houghton won the Nobel Medicine Prize this year for the discovery of the Hepatitis C virus, the Nobel jury said.