Punjab Hepatitis Control Program, Ferozsons Laboratories Limited and Inspectorate of Prisons have begun collaboration to establish hepatitis clinics in 43 prisons of Punjab. A tripartite MoU between the Punjab Hepatitis Control Program, the Punjab Inspectorate General of Prisons and Ferozsons Laboratories Limited was signed to combat viral hepatitis and ensure the health and well-being of the prisoners. Under the MoU standardised hepatitis clinics will be established at 43 prisons across Punjab which will cater to around 52,000 population of prisoners. The signing ceremony was held at the Governor’s House in Lahore hosted by Punjab Governor Chaudhry Mohammad Sarwar. On the occasion, he spoke of the importance of protecting marginalised communities against viral hepatitis and upholding basic human rights for all. Dr Khalid Mahmood, Program Manager of the Punjab Hepatitis Control Program said the program is working under a four pronged strategy of educate, prevent, test and treat.” “Creating awareness to protect our population from hepatitis infections, and providing tests and treating those who are living with hepatitis is our foremost responsibility in line with Pakistan’s commitment to eliminate hepatitis as a public health threat by 2030. The prison population provides an ideal opportunity to undertake high risk groups of hepatitis B and C within all Punjab prisons,” he added. Speaking at the occasion, Punjab Inspector General for Prisons Mirza Shahid Saleem Baig said, “We strive every day to ensure that our prisons work as effective correction centres, so that inmates can be safely rehabilitated as responsible, healthy citizens. This MoU will help vulnerable inmates get access to hepatitis testing and cure, and ensure their well-being. Jail authorities will collaborate with the Hepatitis Control Program to ensure uninterrupted supply chain management and the resources and equipment required to set up hepatitis clinics at all 43 prisons of the province.” He was thankful to Punjab Hepatitis Control Program for provision of logistics essential for the cause. Under the MoU, Ferozsons Laboratories Limited is supporting the logistics of the hepatitis clinics by donating centrifuge machines for PCR sample collection,biometric devices for unique identification for specially developed software/app of electronic medical record (EMR) system, and transportation boxes for the safe transportation of blood samplesx and hepatitis vaccines. Commenting on the initiative, Osman Khalid Waheed, CEO Ferozsons Laboratories Limited said: “Ferozsons is proud to have collaborated with Gilead Sciences, the world’s leader in viral hepatitis treatment and cure, since 2014 for the cause of hepatitis elimination in Pakistan. The Punjab Prisons Elimination program, which extends access to cure to a marginalised and vulnerable part of the population, marks an important step towards this mission. This MoUwill enable the key players to collaborate and extend best in-class treatment to high-risk groups in our prisons in an efficient and seamless manner.” The ceremony was attended by dignitaries of both departments of Primary & Secondary Healthcare and Specialized Healthcare along with other distinguished guests. Meanwhile, the Punjab governor inaugurated three water filtration plants in different areas of the city in Lahore. The plants have been installed by the Punjab Aab-e-Pak Authority in Judicial Colony Lahore, Technical Education & Vocational Training Authority (TEVTA) central office and Rehmat Eye Hospital Township. Chairman Aab-e-Pak Authority Dr Shakeel Ahmed, Syed Lakht Hussain from Muslim Hands, Chairman TEVTA Ali Salman and others were also present. The Punjab governor said that the authority, in collaboration with the non-governmental organisations (NGOs) and welfare bodies, would provide safe drinking water to 1.5 million people by December 2021. He added that the restoration of filtration plants of Wasa and district governments would begin soon. He said that by December this year, installation of 1,500 water filtration plants would be completed in Punjab through which, clean drinking water would be provided to about eight million people. Sarwar said that ever since Prime Minister Imran Khan came to power, he had been working only to save the people from inflation, unemployment and other problems to make the country economically strong. He added that the Sehat Insaf card, Kissan card and Ehsaas Kafalat programme were the historic initiatives of Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) government.