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Health News of Thursday, 28 July 2011

Source: GNA

Four million Ghanaians infected with Hepatitis B

Accra, July 28, GNA – It is estimated that about four million people in the country are infected with the Hepatitis B virus which usually affects the liver.
Globally, it is estimated that two billion people have been infected by the disease while 130,000 have also been infected by Hepatitis C which has symptoms relating to Hepatitis B.
Mr Stephen Corquaye, Clinical Pharmacist, Korle Bu Teaching Hospital, who was speaking at the launch of the World Hepatitis Day organized by the Pharmaceutical Society of Ghana on Thursday, attributed the high prevalence of the disease in the country to the practice of unsafe sex, sharing of toothbrushes and sharp edged objects.
“Sharing of needles among injecting drug users, infected mothers passing it on to their babies and also getting pricked with a needle that has infected blood are also some of the common modes of transmission,” he explained.
Mr Corquaye mentioned fever, jaundice, abdominal pain and the passing of pale coloured faeces and dark yellowish urine as some of the symptoms of the disease.
He appealed to pregnant women to endeavour to get tested for the disease in order to avoid mother-to-child transmission.
Mr Corquaye appealed to persons who had started with the prevention treatment to have all the three shots (vaccinations) in order to have the drug to fully protect them against infections.
“I will also urge persons with the disease to contact only Ministry of Health (MOH) approved hospital or polyclinics for treatment since they are well equipped for that,” he added.
Mr Corquaye urged Ghanaians to avoid tribal marks, tattoos and body piercing. They should practice safe sex and most importantly get immunized against the disease to avoid infection.
Mr Yusuf Inua, a pharmacist at the MOH, pledged government’s commitment towards the fight against the disease and urged corporate entities to also come on board.
Mr Inua, who is also the Head of Logistics at the MOH, noted that the Ministry would soon carry out a programme for hepatitis B as it had done for malaria and HIV/AIDS to minimize its prevalence.
Dr Alex Dodoo, President, Pharmaceutical Society of Ghana, deplored lack of education on the disease among the nation’s populace and called for a concerted effort in the fight against it.
He noted that as part of the celebration, the Society was carrying out free screening and testing at the Obra Spot, Circle and Castle Clinic, all in Accra.
The celebration is on the theme: “Know it. Confront it. Hepatitis Affects Everyone Everywhere.”