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No budget for 5pc nationals suffering from deadly disease

16 October, 2012

ISLAMABAD: The government's negligence towards the health sector can be judged from the fact that there have been no budgetary allocations for non-communicable diseases like psoriasis in the 2012-13 budget, despite the fact that more than five percent of the countrymen suffer from this disease and this percentage is increasing each passing year.

This was the crux of the event, entitled "Dermato-Expert League 2012". It was organised by Novartis Pharma (Pakistan) Limited on Monday. 'Psoriasis-Its More than Deep Skin' was the theme of the event.

Dr Brig. Zafar Iqbal Sheikh, dead of dermatology department at Military Hospital, Rawalpindi, Prof Azher Rashid, vice president of Pakistan Association of Dermatology, Dr Ahson Siddiqi, dead of Medical Affairs, Dr Faisal MB Rehman of Integrated Hospital Care (Novartis Karachi), Dr Simeen Rahman, Senior-Most Consultant of dermatologist of Islamabad, Prof Sahibzada Mahmood Noor of Lady Leading Hospital, Peshawar, Prof Manzooor H Memon, senior dermatologist at Institute of Skin Diseases, Sindh, Prof Umair Mansoor Bajwa, a senior dermatologist from Lahore, and Dr Nosheeba Salman, laser therapist from Islamabad were the main participants of the event.

The event was specially designed to create awareness about the World Psoriasis Day that will be celebrated on 29th. Psoriasis is a life-long skin disorder that causes red, scaly patches called lesions to appear on your skin.

The lesions can show up on any area of the skin. Psoriasis affects nearly three percent of the world's population. It can develop in males or females of any race or age. Dr Brig Zafar Iqbal Sheikh while addressing the audience said that psoriasis can be limited to a few areas of the skin (mild), or it can be moderate or widespread and severe.

"There is lack of awareness among the common people about psoriasis. In most cases the patient suffering from the disease is ignorant of the fact that he would have to continue his treatment for the life time.

This disease is non-communicable but due to lack of knowledge, the people avoid being social with the psoriasis patient," Dr Zafar said. Dr Ahson Siddiqi told the audience that it was the first time in history of Pakistan that Pakistan Association of Dermatology in collaboration with Novartis has decided to celebrate World Psoriasis Day to formulate some guidelines about psoriasis on national level.

According to Prof Umair Mansoor, at present no official data is available about the total number of psoriasis patients in Pakistan which shows the government's negligence towards the disease that has so far affected about 125 million people globally. Psoriasis affects males and females equally and accounts for 10 to 20 percent of all referrals to dermatologists while about 10 percent of all infants and young children experience symptoms of the disease, Prof Umair said.

The session was concluded by Brig Simeen Rahman, the most senior consultant dermatologist of Pakistan with the consensus to create awareness among the general public about psoriasis; to make the government allocate some amount in budget to provide medicines used in treatment of psoriasis in the government hospitals and a campaign like polio should be started by the government about psoriasis; and last but not least the print and electronic media should be involved in creating awareness about the disease of psoriasis.


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