Final year counselling students of the University of Education, Winneba (UEW) have called on all to join the awareness creation, prevention and treatment of Hepatitis B (HB) campaign for the disease to be eradicated in the country.
The appeal was made in a presentation delivered by Mrs Georgina Anafo, on behalf of the group who are students of the Department of Psychology and Education at a day’s seminar held under theme: “Hepatitis B and you: the way forward”.
The event was attended by basic and senor high students, teachers and parents in Effutuman.
“The World Health Organization (WHO) estimates that over two billion people have been exposed to the HB Virus and over 400 million people are chronically infected with the virus and moreover, one million people die every year due to complications like cirrhosis and liver cancer as a result of hepatitis B”.
They said the 2017 Ghana Health Service statistics on HB indicates that in Ghana, the prevalence rate is estimated at between 10-15 percent which is higher than that of HIV/AIDS which was 1.37 percent as at 2014.
The report said Ghana is rated a higher risk country for Hepatitis B and that children below the age six years who become infected with the HB virus are most likely to develop chronic infections.
During the 2017 World Hepatitis Day held in Takoradi, Dr Nii Anum Ayerh, Vice President of the Hepatitis Society of Ghana, said out of every 100 Ghanaians, 13 may test positive for HB of which most of them are unaware.
The student counsellors said research conducted reveals that people from endemic regions, babies of mothers with chronic HB virus, sexually active young adolescents, intravenous drug abusers, people with multiple sex partners, healthcare personnel who have contact with blood, residents and staff members of institutions for the mentally retarded were the high-risk groups of the HB virus infection.
They said the most effective means of preventing the disease is through vaccination and called on the schools Guidance Coordinators to educate students on the disease and urged them to avoid sharing personal care items such as blade and tooth brushes.
They also called on marriage counsellors in churches and other religious leaders to advice their members on the need to know their status, to help reduce the high incidence of the disease in the society.