Accra, July 25, GNA - Mr Alexander K. Abban, the Deputy Minister of Health, on Thursday, launched the first-ever National Guidelines for Prevention, Cure and Treatment of Viral Hepatitis in Ghana.
The purpose of the guidelines, he said, was to provide standard evidence-based step by step instructions for health care workers in viral hepatitis prevention and control services in order to improve the health status of all persons living with, and at risk of the infection.
Mr Abban said the guidelines were adopted from the World Health Organisation (WHO) and other internationally accepted documents for the prevention, care and treatment of Viral Hepatitis.
He thanked the technical experts, especially members of the Hepatitis Society of Ghana, who tirelessly worked and had consultative review meetings with all relevant stakeholders to put together these guidelines, and also the WHO for printing the initial 1,000 copies of the national document.
The launch of the document was part at the ceremony to commemorate this years’ World Hepatitis Day in Accra, with the slogan: “Invest in the Elimination of Hepatitis,” which was a campaign that urges national and regional policymakers to increase political and financial commitments towards a response and elimination within the context of health-related Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and Universal Health Coverage by 2030.
Mr Abban said it was sad to observe that viral hepatitis B and C were the leading infectious disease killers, yet the majority of global leaders and public remained unaware, leading to the infection of 325 million people globally, and about 1.4 million deaths annually.
He said the disease had also been identified as the second major killer infectious disease after tuberculosis, and nine times more people were infected with hepatitis than HIV, and that death from hepatitis have been increasing over the past decade, which pointed to the lack of global awareness and action among top decision-makers.
He said although there were effective tools such as vaccination, surveillance, education, screening and treatment, there was a challenge with building capacities to extend interventions country-wide.
Dr Owen Laws Kaluwa, the WHO Country Representative, said the launch of the guidelines would require dedicated funding to ensure among other things, that frontline health workers were trained on the updated approaches for managing viral hepatitis.