One in every three people is suffering from liver disease in Bangladesh and there is only one hepatologist for a population of 2.0 million.
10 million Bangladeshis are diagnosed with chronic hepatitis B and C while more than 40 million have fatty liver disease, according to a study conducted by renowned liver specialist Prof Dr Mobin Khan and other hepatologists.
The research finding was revealed at the ‘Fifth International Hepatology Conference’ held at Pan Pacific Sonargaon Dhaka on Thursday.
Around 2,200 specialist doctors of various disciplines from home and abroad participated in the conference. Hepatology Society, Dhaka Bangladesh arranged the programme aimed at raising awareness among people. The seminar included several scientific sessions enriched with lectures on various aspects of clinically relevant hepatobiliary diseases.
Prof Dr Mobin Khan, president of the Hepatology Society and also founder of Hepatology Department of Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujib Medical University (BSMMU), presided over the programme.
National Prof Brig Gen (retd) MA Malik, founder and president of National Heart Foundation, attended the function as the chief guest and Prof Dr Nazrul Islam, eminent virologist and former vice-chancellor of BSMMU, was present in the event as the special guest.
The theme of the conference was ‘Current Trends in the Management of Liver Disorders’.
Among others, Prof Dr Abu Sayeed, Dr Shahinul Alam, Dr Md Golarn Mustafa, Dr Md Golam Azam and Dr M Motahar Hossain also spoke in the opening ceremony.
The physicians also stressed the need for setting up a separate super-specialised liver institute in Bangladesh to provide quality treatments to the growing number of patients.
After the inaugural session, a press conference was arranged. In his speech, Dr Mobin Khan emphasised government patronisation, proper funding and technical support to establish the separate liver institute.
Dr Md Shahinul Alam
Dr Md Shahinul Alam, general secretary of the Hepatology Society, also briefed the media. He hoped that Bangladeshi hepatologists will be able to restart the liver transplant soon at very low cost – within Tk 2.0 million. Urban people are prone to suffer liver disease but the country has less than 100 liver specialists, he added.
Renowned foreign hepatologists, including Prof Kumar Visvanathan from Australia, Prof Raluca Pais from France, Prof Mohamed Abdel Wahab from Egypt, Prof Seng Gee Lim from Singapore, Prof Hironao Okubo from Japan, Prof D Nageshwar Reddy from India, Prof Emmanuel Tsochatzis, Prof Anil Dhawan, Prof Anita Banerjee and Prof Anita Verma from UK delivered their lectures under scientific sessions. They discussed the eradication process of hepatitis B virus, curative treatment of hepatitis C virus, prevention of fatty liver and management of liver disease of mothers and newborns.
Prof Abdul Wahab, a noted liver transplant surgeon of Egypt, shared is experience of establishing a transplant centre in Egypt. He also made his technical suggestions regarding launching a transplant centre in Dhaka. World famous therapeutic endoscopist and ERCP expert Prof Nageshwar Reddy from India and imaging (MRI) expert Prof Hironao Okubo from Japan spoke on ‘The Role of Imaging in Diagnosing Liver Disease’. The programme was followed by a question-answer session.
Bangladesh suffers epidemic of hepatitis E round the year apart from endemic attacks of hepatitis B, C and fatty liver disease. The speakers mentioned that the port city Chattagram witnessed an outbreak of hepatitis E from April to July this year.
Every urban city of the country is under strong threat of temporary epidemic of hepatitis E. But Bangladesh is not aware and technically efficient to combat the menace. The country needs at least 1,000 hepatologists to tackle these sorts of epidemics, they opined.
The physicians blamed unhealthy diets -- mainly fast food or junk foods, fizzy drinks and spicy foods, lack of proper sanitation, impure water and above all unconsciousness behind the disease.
They also suggested balanced diet, life style modification, physical exercise, vaccination, timely detection of disease and finally medication to check it.
Earlier on Wednesday, the Hepatology Society, Dhaka arranged a dinner in honour of guest speakers.
Hepatology Society, Dhaka, Bangladesh, a non-profit organisation, is working relentlessly to promote the scientific advancement, research and better liver disease management. On every Friday, it conducts a ‘Free Friday Liver Clinic’ where Prof Dr Mobin Khan and other liver specialists provide treatment to patients.
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