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Getz Pharma and The Aga Khan University Outreach Health Network collaborate to eradicate Hepatitis C in Pakistan

Under strict COVID-19 SOPs, the signing ceremony between Getz Pharma and Aga Khan University Hospital was held on 2 April 2021. Khalid Mahmood, the Managing Director and CEO at Getz Pharma, and Mr. Firoz Rasul, President of the Aga Khan University signed this agreement, under which the Aga Khan University Outreach Health Network will ensure treatment of Hepatitis C and make it accessible to patients from low-income households across Pakistan, during the course of two years. Getz Pharma will be providing free of cost Hepatitis C medicines to the Aga Khan University Outreach Health Network with its goal of providing free treatment to 12,000 indigent patients in Karachi, Lahore, Larkana, Multan, Nawabshah, Jacobabad, Rawalpindi, and Peshawar, through its 11 Outreach Medical Centers nationwide.

Getz Pharma is also providing funds to this program for a mobile clinic, and a nationwide Hepatitis C public awareness campaign. Khalid Mahmood highlighted, “While our business goal has always been to provide quality and affordable medicines; we assign our social responsibility an equal priority. Our CSR programs support education and health care for the underprivileged; and preserving our environment and cultural heritage by advancing education, health care, and performing arts,” while addressing the room at the ceremony. “I would like to thank Getz Pharma for this generous contribution to the national cause of Hepatitis C elimination. Today, we are a step closer to defeating this deadly virus. AKU Outreach Health Network will continue to reach out to those in need of compassionate care and provide them with the highest quality standards at their doorsteps,” added Shagufta Hassan, the CEO of the Aga Khan University Outreach Health Network, Pakistan. “Eliminating Hepatitis C from Pakistan will prevent nearly 30,000 deaths per year in adults in the prime of their lives and drastically reduce the burden of liver cancer in the country,” said Dr. Saeed Hamid, Professor of Medicine, AKU highlighting the importance of eliminating Hepatitis C in Pakistan.

Often called a “silent killer”, Hepatitis C produces few or no symptoms. Although antiviral medicines can cure over 95% of these patients, access to screening, diagnosis, and treatment of HCV is low in most parts of the country. In Pakistan, it is the second-highest burden disease, comprising at least 5% of the total population. Through the support of Getz Pharma, the Aga Khan University Outreach Health Network’s Hepatitis C Elimination Programme aims to improve the accessibility of the treatment to those who are eligible to receive zakat and other patients who are financially challenged throughout Pakistan.