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Uganda leads the charge against Viral Hepatitis in Africa – Dr. Jane Ruth Aceng

Uganda is the first country in Africa to host the African Hepatitis Summit, it happened at Munyonyo Resort and The summit was under the theme “Eliminating Viral Hepatitis in Africa; Implementing the Viral Hepatitis Strategy”, it gathered Delegates from over 25 countries in Africa and the World.

In Uganda, according to the Uganda Population-based HIV Impact Assessment survey, (UPHIA, 2016), it is estimated that the prevalence of Viral Hepatitis B is at 4.1% in the population aged 15-64 years.

The disease prevalence, however, varies from region to region with the highest prevalence in the North at 4.6% and the lowest in Southwest at 0.8%. While the actual prevalence of Viral Hepatitis C in Uganda is unknown, the data from the National Blood Bank indicates that the prevalence of Hepatitis C among blood donors in Uganda is approximately 1.5%

Government to scale up vaccination to eliminate Hepatitis B – Vice President, Edward Sekandi speaking at the Africa Hepatitis Summit

Uganda is first countries in Africa to undertake the manufacture of Hepatitis B medicines, first line drugs recommended for the treatment of Hepatitis B, Uganda has made great strides as a country in the fight against Hepatitis B; introduction of routine childhood Petavalent vaccine against Hepatitis B, screening of all donated blood against HIV, Syphilis, Hepatitis B and C – Health Minister, Dr. Jane Ruth Aceng said during the African Hepatitis summit

The Ministry of health introduced routine childhood pentavalent vaccine against hepatitis B into NEP on immunization for newborns and provided systematic screening approach at no cost and Vaccines are available at all health facilities and Birth dose is essential for elimination, Dr. Jane Ruth added

Egypt committed to support other countries to treat over 1 million Africans living with Hepatitis C

The President of Uganda informed the delegates that advocacy for vaccination against Viral hepatitis is at the forefront of his work, “I implored the Ministry of Health to immunize all adolescents and adults in the country and get rid of Hepatitis B and vaccination started in July 2015.”

He also added, “I have personally participated in mobilizing the masses to get vaccinated. However, it’s important to sensitize people on the modes of transmission during such international events.” his speech was read by Vice President Ssekandi Edward

”Elimination can only be realized if we work together and share information. Partnerships and collaborations are more important than ever as we foster sharing of information and best practices” ~ Dr. John Ward

Dying of viral Hepatitis in Africa is becoming a bigger threat than dying of AIDS, malaria or TB. Everyday, complications of viral Hepatitis related liver disease, including cirrhosis and liver cancer – World Health Organisation, Country Representative in Uganda, Dr Yonas Tegegn Woldemariam

Here is a follow up discussion on Hepatitis with Jacob Ampeire, Public Relations from Ministry of Health

Frank Byaruhanga is a human rights activist with years of experience in community dialogues, digital communication, advocacy and digital campaigns. He specializes in Media Relation Work, Management and Training with sufficient knowledge in Governance, Accountability, Sexual Reproductive Health and Rights, Youth-led research, Content developer, Creative Activism, Social Media Management and documentary photography.

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