Guidelines for prevention, care and treatment of viral hepatitis launched

By
Christabel Addo, GNA

Accra, July 25, GNA – Mr Alexander K. Abban,
the Deputy Minister of Health, on Thursday, launched the first-ever National Guidelines
for Prevention, Cure and Treatment of Viral Hepatitis in Ghana.

The purpose of the guidelines, he said, was
to provide standard evidence-based step by step instructions for health care
workers in viral hepatitis prevention and control services in order to improve
the health status of all persons living with, and at risk of the infection.

Mr Abban said the guidelines were adopted
from the World Health Organisation (WHO) and other internationally accepted
documents for the prevention, care and treatment of Viral Hepatitis.

He thanked the technical experts, especially
members of the Hepatitis Society of Ghana, who tirelessly worked and had
consultative review meetings with all relevant stakeholders to put together
these guidelines, and also the WHO for printing the initial 1,000 copies of the
national document.

The launch of the document was part at the
ceremony to commemorate this years’ World Hepatitis Day in Accra, with the
slogan: “Invest in the Elimination of Hepatitis,” which was a campaign that
urges national and regional policymakers to increase political and financial
commitments towards a response and elimination within the context of
health-related Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and Universal Health
Coverage by 2030.

Mr Abban said it was sad to observe that
viral hepatitis B and C were the leading infectious disease killers, yet the
majority of global leaders and public remained unaware, leading to the
infection of 325 million people globally, and about 1.4  million deaths annually.

He said the disease had also been identified
as the second major killer infectious disease after tuberculosis, and nine
times more people were infected with hepatitis than HIV, and that death from
hepatitis have been increasing over the past decade, which pointed to the lack
of global awareness and action among top decision-makers.

He said although there were effective tools
such as vaccination, surveillance, education, screening and treatment, there
was a challenge with building capacities to extend interventions country-wide.

Dr Owen Laws Kaluwa, the WHO Country
Representative, said the launch of the guidelines would require dedicated
funding to ensure among other things, that frontline health workers were
trained on the updated approaches for managing viral hepatitis.

GNA

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