Hundreds with hepatitis B die for lack of Access to treatment in Ghana

The 28th of July has been set aside by the World Health Organization (WHO) as World Hepatitis Day. The theme for this year’s (2018) version of the anniversary is “finding the missing millions”.

As we commemorate this day in Ghana, it is relevant to reflect on our readiness to reduce viral Hepatitis deaths by 65% by the year 2030 (WHO, 2016). Currently, l2.3% of the Ghanaian population are living with Hepatitis B (Ofori-Asenso & Agyeman, 2016). Despite this high infected rate, only a small segment have access to proper monitoring and care. The remaining larger number of person’s living with the infection are inadvertently not able to access appropriate care and support mainly due to lack of funds.

In fact, once people become infected by the Hepatitis B virus, they would require periodic monitoring and management to get the virus under control so they do not progress to complications such as liver cancer and many more. Unfortunately, the cost of obtaining effective therapy for hepatitis B in Ghana is rather too huge for the average Ghanaian to afford.

As a result, many people return to their homes after being diagnosed of Hepatitis B without considering clinical monitoring and treatment options, a factor which has left many individuals with the disease to progress to the complication stage. On the occasion of World Hepatitis Day, the Hepatitis Alliance of Ghana, a Non-Governmental Organization wish to invite the attention of Government and other stakeholders to the following;

1. The Government of Ghana should include the recommended therapy regimen [Nucleos(t)ide analogs] and all the laboratory test associated with Hepatitis infection particularly viral load on the National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS) list. This will allow the many people who die from complications of Hepatitis B as a result of cost to have life.

2. Much education on available effective therapy for people living with Hepatitis B and C need to be intensified by the Ministry of Health to enhance the life span and quality of life of infected persons.
Mr. Charles Ampong Adjei [Public Health Specialist/ Hepatitis Researcher]
CEO, Hepatitis Alliance of Ghana

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