Cape coast, July 30, GNA – Dr Yaw Asante Awuku, Physician Specialist at the Cape Coast Teaching Hospital, has called for a national approach to the fight against the Viral Hepatitis disease in the country.
He said the diagnosis and medicines for the treatment of Hepatitis, especially Hepatitis B, is very expensive and beyond the reach of more than 95 per cent of patients.
It said it is therefore imperative for the government to come up with policy guidelines to help with the treatment of the disease as the world aims at total elimination of the disease as a public health threat by 2030.
Dr Awuku, Senior Lecturer at the Department of Internal Medicine and Therapeutics at the University of Cape Coast (UCC) school of Medical Sciences was speaking at a health durbar at the University.
The event, organised by the Directorate of University Health Services (DUHS), UCC, in collaboration with Roche, an international pharmaceutical company, to mark this year’s World Hepatitis Day.
It was on the theme: “Fighting Viral Hepatitis, a silent killer.”
World Hepatitis Day is celebrated every year on July 28, to create the awareness on the disease, encourage people to get tested and seek medical advice on vaccination or treatment.
He said it is important to create the necessary awareness on the disease and also provide extensive screening for all the five types of Hepatitis (A, B, C, D and E), that would help the public to know the right number of people, who are infected.
He said prevalence of the disease is high and people’s knowledge on how Hepatitis is transmitted would help reduce the risk of infection.
He mentioned the sharing of toothbrushes and razors, unscreened blood transfusion, unsafe injections, unprotected sex and mother to child transmission are some of the sources of infection of Hepatitis B.
Dr Evans Ekanem, Director of DUHS said the directorate in collaboration with Roche, had initiated a number of projects aimed at fighting Hepatitis B and C on the university campus.
The project includes education, sensitisation, screening, counselling and vaccination of all members of the university community and their families are being piloted at the health directorate and the central administration.
He said fresh students would be screened for both Hepatitis B and C, reiterating that the prime focus is to fish out those with the virus and give them the necessary medical assistance as early as possible.
The Provost of the College of Agriculture and Natural Sciences, Professor Samuel Yeboah Mensah who chaired the event described the disease as a terrible and dreadful one, which needs concerted efforts to fight it.
Mr John Klu, Representative of Roche said the disease has high prevalence in the sub- region of Africa and said the firm is committed to improve diagnosis, treatment and provision of other interventions as part of efforts to reduce it.