Statistics have shown that two billion people worldwide have been infected with the hepatitis B virus and more than 240 million have chronic (long-term) liver infections. Again, bout 600 000 people die every year due to the acute or chronic consequences of hepatitis B.
The disease constitutes a major global health risk and hepatitis B virus is 50 to 100 times more infectious than HIV and around 150 million people infected with hepatitis C.
Since hepatitis is a communicable disease which easily spread among vast number of people, it is important to increase public awareness about the disease in order to prevent its spread. It is against this bedrock that Global Media Foundation (GLOMEF), human rights and anti-corruption media advocacy organization has intensified public education on the disease especially among the rural folk with much focus on market women and farmers.
Speaking to Newsmen in Sunyani, the Campaign Co-ordinator on Hepatitis B at GLOMEF, Miss Perpetual Serwaa Amardo, said the main goal of the campaign is to increase public knowledge on hepatitis and its causes as well as ways of preventing the disease.
She noted that more than 1000 people including school children, market women and farmers in the Sunyani West District and Sunyani Municipality in the Brong-Ahafo region are expected to benefit from the campaign.
She said it is her expectation that by the end of the campaign, the beneficiaries would be able to give information about Hepatitis, its causes, signs and symptoms, effects, mode of transmission, prevention and management.
According to Miss Amardo, hepatitis is caused by the hepatitis B virus and is spread by contact with infected blood, semen and some other body fluids. She continued that one can easily get the disease through unprotected sex with infected person, bitten by someone who is infected and alcoholism. She further said a baby can become infected through his/her mother’s breast milk if the mother is infected.
Touching on preventive measures, Miss Amardo who is a third-year Student at the University For Development Studies, Faculty of Education, Law and Business Studies (Wa campus), advised the public to avoid sharing tootbrushes, razors or manicure instruments.
She further urged the Public to avoid unprotected sex and go for hepatitis test to know their status in order to seek for early treatment. Miss Amardo noted that Hepatitis B is preventable with the currently available safe and effective vaccine.
She advised that all children and adolescents younger than 18 years old and not previously vaccinated should receive the vaccine.
She further said People in high risk groups including people with high-risk sexual behavior, partners and household contacts of infected people, injecting drug users, travellers to countries with high rates of hepatitis B and people at occupational risk of hepatitis B virus infection, such as health-care workers should also be vaccinated.
Source: from Raphael Godlove Ahenu