KAMPALA – The ministry of health has said they are going to start testing of hepatitis for all health workers and pregnant mothers who go for antenatal care at the different health facilities. This new development comes at the backdrop of the worrying numbers of hepatitis cases according to the health ministry officials.
According to Dr Racheal Beyagira, the hepatitis C technical officer at the ministry of health, these two stand higher chances of getting liver disease. She said out of 10 people that show up to donate blood, three have hepatitis C, something she says is worrying.
Dr Beyagira who was addressing the media at the Ministry headquarters in Kampala, said they have launched plans to curb the disease and said they will start by checking pregnant women unlike in the previous where they have been testing them for HIV and sickle cell only.
She believes many people have this disease but do not know and expressed concern on the people’s failure to turn up for vaccination against hepatitis and those who turn up, stop on the first dose.
“This breed of hepatitis spreads in a mother-to-child mode of transmission. When one gets a single injection, they have not attained enough antibodies to fight the disease. You need to finish the entire dose. The people’s failure to turn up for vaccination has also led to expired vaccine backlogs.”
Dr Beyagira adds: “In our vaccination drive as directed by the health ministry, we are going to start with pregnant mothers. We are also going to screen the health care workers because they come in contact with blood a lot.”
The expert expressed concern on the discovery of a liver disease dubbed hepatitis C. The disease was first discovered in blood donors.
She has however advised the public not to lose hope since the disease can disappear in 3 months if treated well.
Since 2015, the ministry of health has been doing campaigns to investigate hepatitis B. this disease is so much prevalent in Northern and Eastern Uganda.
Through the campaigns, they realised that they were able to hit 40% of the target and are now focusing on how to get the rest.
“This disease is prevalent but heals when vaccinated. The immunisation is in three doses, when we discover the people having this disease, we connect them to our health experts to be checked and know that they need the liver medicine,” Dr Beyagira said.