World Hepatitis Day held at Ho; over 900 screen, vaccinated

Regional News World Hepatitis Day held at Ho; over 900 screen, vaccinated
AUG 1, 2023 LISTEN

Ghana Association for the Study of Liver and Digestive Diseases in collaboration with the Ho Teaching Hospital and other stakeholders in the Volta region has held A National Hepatitis Day celebration at Ho to mark this year's World Hepatitis Day.

The week-long celebration in the region was marked with series of activities especially Ho to raise awareness in efforts to reduce the spread of the disease.

As part of the celebration, the Association and the Ho Teaching Hospital have reached out to communities with free screening and vaccination exercises.

Records show a total of 930 persons have been screened for Hepatitis B virus and over 600 were also vaccinated within one week of the celebration at Ho and Anfoega Senior High School.

In an interview with Prof. Yao Asante Awuku the President of the Ghana Association for the Study of the Liver and the Digestive Diseases (GASLIDD) downplayed the spiritual perceptions of Hepatitis.

According to him, their main aim was to campaign and educate the public on the need to test to know their status and enable individuals the next steps to take.

"In terms of what people think as in spiritual component, No! We think is about the physical component we know about the transmission, we know about how it is diagnosis and how it is treated and even for viral hepatitis C fact that it can have a cure, so this is the campaign that we've been on till today, we have educated the public on the need to test to know their status," Prof Awuku stated.

Prof. Asante Awuku however appealed to the government to enrol the Hepatitis treatment fully onto the National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS) since government's support is woefully inadequate in the fight against the disease in the country.

"If you look at the insurance, testing is actually covered by the insurance but there are further investigations that they need like the viral loads, genotyping which is not covered by the National Health Insurance and therefore one will have to pay out of pocket, again treatment for both hepatitis B and C are not covered by national Health Insurance Scheme so one have to pay on his or her own," he noted.

He further lamented that even though there is a vaccination for people who are negative to protect them from getting the disease they can't afford it. He added that even the health workers who are to get the vaccination to stay safe from the disease have to also pay.

Addressing the stakeholders at the celebration, Prof. Lydia Aziato, the Vice Chancellor of the University of Health And Allied Sciences (UHAS) also appealed to the government to make the treatment of Hepatitis available, accessible and affordable to the people.

She charged the health professionals to check their attitudes and act friendly towards patients who visited their facilities for medical care.

She urged them to also learn more communication skills especially the local dialect to enable proper communication with the patients.

Dr. Kenneth Tachie, a member of GASLIDD and the keynote speaker to mark the celebration on the theme "One Life One Liver" charge the policymakers to put investment in the fight against Hepatitis to enable the country meet the WHO's target in the fight.

He stressed the myths surrounding hepatitis saying patients are free and not restricted from eating any kind of food but urged the public to practice safety measures to protect themselves from the hepatitis virus.

"The liver is vital, let's protect it, we just have one, so protect your liver, protect your Life, protect your love ones I can't wait to be vaccinated or treated for hepatitis so I encourage you to also not wait to know your status if you are negative get vaccinated and if you're positive get treated," Dr. Tachie advise.

Evans Attah Akangla
Evans Attah Akangla

Volta Region CorrespondentPage: EvansAttahAkangla