MPs Quiz Minister On Hepatitis B Prevalence

State Minister for Health Dr. Elioda Tumwesigye has said government has so far taken the necessary steps to curb the Hepatitis B scourge.

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Dr Elioda Tumwesigye, the state minister for health and general duties

The minister was appearing before the parliamentary committee on health to respond to the petition by the people of Adjumani and Moyo districts over the disease.

He said government realized that Hepatitis B was becoming a threat to the country and decided to introduce vaccination against the disease, adding that children aged below 11 years are Hepatitis B resistant since they were all immunized when the vaccine was introduced in 2002.

The minister said that government has also introduced a programme on injection safety where the reuse of syringes was prohibited as facilitated by the introduction of auto syringes.

He added that government has also tried to reinforce universal precautions in all health facilities to reduce transmission of Hepatitis B.

Tumwesigye added that the ministry has requested National Medical Stores to procure the core antigens that will help in differentiating the active hepatitis B from any Hepatitis B Infection.

MPS on the committee however said that people do not get full dozes because they can’t afford the drugs. They also complained about the absence of testing kits in the West Nile adding that it has put many people in danger.

Tumwesigye asked the committee to give the ministry more time to prepare a write-up to specific actions that are being taken in cases of Adjumani and Moyo where the situation is dire.

The minister said that although districts of Adjumani and Moyo are affected the most, Hepatitis B is widespread adding that the highest prevalence is in North Eastern Uganda at 23.9 percent, North Central at 20.7 percent, West Nile at 18.5 percent and Western Uganda at 10 percent.

Hepatitis B is caused by hepatitis B virus (HBV) that affects the immune system and usually leads to inflammation and damage to the liver.

HBV causes damage to the genetic material inside liver cells and also causes liver cancer. According to World Health Organisation (WHO), more than 240 million people worldwide have chronic or long-term liver infections.

About 600, 000 people die every year due to the acute or chronic consequences of hepatitis B. WHO explains that the Hepatitis B virus is spread through contact with blood or other body fluids of an infected person.

 

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About

Uganda Harm Reduction Network (UHRN) is a Community Based Organisation, established in 2011, Reg No. WCBO/1253/11, found by former drug users, to provide a national platform and reduce the health, social and economic harms associated with “drug use”. We further seek to develop an enabling environment for the implementation and expansion of human right interventions for Drug Users (IDUs, Sex Workers and Youth) in Uganda in partnerships with other stakeholders as we strive for victory. Vision: “A Ugandan society that reorganizes and protects the health, social, economic and human rights of drug users”. Mission: “To reduce the health, social and economic harms associated with drug use to develop an enabling environment for the implementation and expansion of human right interventions for drug users in Uganda. Objectives: We work to: • Promote access to cancer screening, psychosocial support and comprehensive care (HIV, SRHR, TB, and Hepatitis B and C treatment). • Organize and equip drug users whose rights have been violated to take responsibility of their health, social, economic wellbeing and sustainability through economic empowerment trainings and functional adult literacy programmes. • Document and expose human rights violations against drug users and call for legal protection and engage in policy reforms on laws that negatively impact on drug users. • Build partnership, synergy and develop the leadership capacity of drug users to take charge of their program. • Promote the health, social economic and human rights of “drug users” in Uganda irrespective of their social, economic, academic, cultural or political background. • Promote safer sex education such as condom use, needle and syringe exchange program, comprehensive care and mechanism on how to deal with issues of overdose, trafficking and violence against drug users. • Call for an enabling environment and strengthen partnerships towards “drug users”. Core values for UHRN: The driving forces that guide all actions and practices in UHRN are:- • Social justice, protection and recognition in society • Love and respect for one another. • Support and care for one another • Honesty in all our undertakings • Empathy for each other as drug users • Sharing the available resources.

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