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27.02.2007 General News

Ghanaians advised to test for Hepatitis B

A Kumasi based medical officer, Dr(Mrs.) Beatrice Wiafe Addai has advised Ghanaians to avail themselves of medical facilities to test for Hepatitis B to know their status.

She explained that reported cases of the disease which she described as highly infectious was on the increase and said voluntarily testing to know one's status was necessary to offer medical practitioners the opportunity to take the requisite precautionary measures to reduce the spread of the diseases.

Dr Wiafe Addai gave the advice during an out reach programme to educate the public on the dangers of Hepatitis B, its mode of infection, treatment and preventive measures.

Explaining further, she said Hepatitis B could be prevented if regular testing was made and those who tested negative vaccinated against the disease.

She said early treatment for those who tested positive would also reduce the risk and cost of treatment rather than waiting for the disease to reach and advanced stage before seeking medication.

The programme, which was organised by the World Vision International, a non-governmental organisation as part of its spiritual conference programme was on the theme, “get tested” and was attended by over 300 participants.

It coincided with a programme to educate women on how they could undertake monthly breast examination to be able to detect any abnormality in their breasts and report for treatment.

The move is to help in the early diagnosis of breast cancer, which medical experts say cause fatalities in infected women due to their ignorance of the disease.

Dr Wiafe Addai who is also the President of Breast Care International, an NGO expressed concern about the increase in reported cases of Hepatitis B which she described as very deadly.

She said Hepatitis B was a liver disease caused by Hepatitis B virus and transmitted through contact with infected blood and body fluids.

She said once infected, the virus caused chronic infections and later the victims developed liver scarring (cirrhosis) or liver cancer.

Dr Wiafe Addai pointed out that unlike HIV/ AIDS pandemic which had no drugs for vaccination to protect the public against infections, the public could be vaccinated against Hepatitis B and should avail themselves of testing and be vaccinated against the disease to ensure that they lived a healthily to enhance productivity.

She said it was equally important for NGOs to initiate programmes that would create much awareness on the dangers of Hepatitis B, transmission of the infection and the need to take the requisite precautionary measures against contracting the disease as they had been doing on the HIV/AIDS pandemic.

Source: Daily Graphic