As the world is still battling Covid-19, the Hepatitis virus and other infections continue to claim many lives. Yesterday, July 28, Uganda joined the rest of the world to commemorate the World Hepatitis day.
This year’s theme is “Hepatitis-free Future”, which has strongly been focused on preventing Hepatitis (B) among mothers and newborns.
Hepatitis B is an infection of the liver caused by Hepatitis B virus. Reports indicate that over 257 million people are living with hepatitis B worldwide, even though many are not aware of their health status.
The World Health Organisation (WHO) has commended Uganda and Rwanda for their role in providing free access to hepatitis testing and treatment.
Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, WHO Director-General, in his address, gave an insight on the five strains of Hepatitis virus. He said the two types that most common; B and C cause liver damage and liver cancer and an estimated 325 million people globally live with hepatitis B or C.
He also noted that the virus kills 1.3 million people each year.
Dr. Diana Atwine, the Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Health called upon the public to be more responsive and active on government moves. She said that such opportunities should not be taken for granted by Ugandans as they are there to save lives.
“The public should be more vigilant. It hurts for government to invest so much money in vaccines to save the lives of Ugandans and they do not take it serious. We end up keeping all these vaccines in our facilities until they expire when they can no longer be accessed,” Atwine said.
“Those that are negative should get immunized and thereafter complete the three dozes. Also, the sick will be referred appropriately to the right medical personnel for more tests and treatment,” she added.
Similarly, Dr. Alfred Driwale, the manager of the Uganda National Expanded Programme on Immunization said immunisation of children against Hepatitis was introduced 18 years ago.
“All children born 18 years ago have a prevalence of 0.6% but the global target is 0.1%. Therefore to close this gap, we among others things, work hard to prevent the mother-to-child transmission,” he said.