LAHORE - Primary and Secondary Healthcare Department has launched biometric registration of truck drivers and helpers for blood screening for HIV/AIDS, Hepatitis B,C and other infectious diseases.

Adviser to Chief Minister on Health Kh Salman Rafiq inaugurated the campaign at a ceremony at Babu Sabu Truck Adda yesterday. Punjab AIDS Control Programme Director and Additional Secretary Dr Adnan Zafar, Truck Drivers Association President Ch Zulfiqar and a large number of drivers and helpers attended the ceremony.

Dr Adnan said on the occasion that a team would be available at Truck Adda in two shifts. The team would conduct biometric registration of drivers and helpers and take blood samples for screening. He said that a database would be prepared. He said the team would conduct rapid blood test for hepatitis B, followed by immediate vaccination if the report was negative.

If tested positive for any disease, treatment would be provided at government expenses. Moreover, the reports would be kept confidential. He said that the scope of the project would be expanded to other districts in phases. He said that registration of 1.5 lakh people attached to this industry would be completed within a year.

Kh Salman Rafiq said that community participation was necessary for making the program a success. He appreciated the cooperation of Truck Drivers Association. He said that eradication of lethal diseases was essential to make a healthy society.

Upgrade plan

Specialized Healthcare and Medical Education Department has decided to upgrade Cardiac Centre and Orthopedic Operation Theatre of Jinnah Hospital at an estimated cost of Rs289 million. Cardiac Centre and Orthopedic OT will be equipped with latest machinery.  The Department has also decided to install 23 state of the art dental units at Dental Hospital. The project will cost Rs35 million.