Increase hepatitis B infection awareness – Health advocate

There is the need for more awareness to be created about the hepatitis B infection, especially in the remote areas of the country to reduce the spread of the disease, Mrs Miriam Owusu, health advocate, has said.

“There are still thousands of people in this country who are not aware of the disease, its dangers and how fast it is spreading so the Ghana Health Service (GHS) must, as a matter of urgency, increase awareness about the condition to save lives,” she said.

Mrs Owusu, who is also the founder of Mimi’s Home Care, a health promotion institution, made the call in an interview with the Ghanaian Times yesterday in Accra.

She explained that hepatitis B was an infection of the liver which could cause scarring of the organ, liver failure, and even cancer, adding that it could be fatal if left untreated.

World Health Organisation (WHO), she said, estimated that in 2015, more than 257 million people were living with chronic hepatitis B infection, resulting in an estimated 887, 000 deaths globally.

Mrs Owusu mentioned that, the life threatening disease could be prevented by vaccines that were safe, and urged the public to ensure they got vaccinated to protect themselves and their families.

The health advocate, however, called on civil society organisations and philanthropists to support the GHS in increasing awareness about the disease, because many Ghanaians were ignorant of its severity.

“Hepatitis B is killing thousands everyday and more are getting infected by the day. Our brothers and sisters in the villages especially do not get to hear much about it so it behoves on some of us to send the message across about how they can protect themselves against it. Creating awareness also goes a long way in reducing the spread of the disease and also saving lives,” she said.

Touching on the symptoms of the disease, Mrs Owusu said most people do not experience any symptoms when newly infected, but others had acute illness with symptoms, including yellowing of the skin and eyes, dark urine, extreme fatigue, nausea, vomiting and abdominal pain.

She further advised members of the public to be mindful of the kinds of foods they consumed as many diseases today, were contracted as a result of the consumption of unhealthy foods.

BY RAISSA SAMBOU                        

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