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Gov’t to fight Hepatitis B and reduce cancer cases

Government is still trying hard to provide available services to people

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(L-R) Former Ministry of Health commissioner Jacinto Amandra, director of clinical services Charles
Olaro and Prof. Posiano Ocama during the World Hepatitis Day Symposium. Photo by Wilfred Sany

Government’s intervention against Hepatitis B is to help address high levels of cancer prevalence in the country.

While marking the 7th World Hepatitis Day at Makerere University Sports Ground on Friday, Charles Olaro, the director clinical services at the Ministry of Health said treating and addressing this health complication shall reduce the cases of cancer registered in the country.

“If we address the problem of hepatitis B, we will have addressed the problem of cancer as well, because of all cancer patients admitted in Mulago, 80% are liver cancer patients, caused by Hepatitis viruses” Olaro noted.

He said government is still trying hard to provide available services to people and assured the public that once government entirely intervenes; all the costs will be reduced.

“Since this is a problem that should be addressed by all sectors in the country, we are coordinating to have subsidized rates for Hepatitis B treatments and when the government intervenes, costs shall be reduced” Olaro added.

Kenneth Kabagambe, the executive director of National Organisation of People Living with Hepatitis B (NOPLHB) wondered why government has not made Hepatitis B testing mandatory for pregnant mothers to safeguard unborn babies.

“Government should make it compulsory for pregnant mothers to have Hepatitis B testing just like how they test other disease like HIV to protect the baby from contracting the virus”, Kabagambe said.

Olaro also noted that government has already written to International Committee responsible for Vaccine Safety for recommendations to start on the most effective method of prevention of mother to child transmission.

The function that was organized by NOPLHB sought to urge government to put in place a national intervention strategy for sensitizing the masses about Hepatitis B since there is a lot of misguided information in the public about the disease and the victims live in stigma and discrimination.

Free services like screening, counselling and direction to immunization centres was done on the day.

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