liver disease

Campaign against liver diseases crucial.

The Daily Graphic has taken a special interest in this year’s commemoration of World Liver Day because gleaning from the latest WHO data published in 2020, liver disease deaths in Ghana reached 6,053 or 3.46 per cent of total deaths. 


The figure translates into an age-adjusted death rate of 36.74 per 100,000 of the population, ranking Ghana 35th in the world.

What makes it scarier is that liver diseases are expected to increase both in the country and around the world for the next several years.

The liver has multiple functions, the most important being energy production and the chemical processes that occur to maintain life.

Thus, not surprisingly, liver failure often results in too much fluid in the brain which leads to pressure build-up in the brain. This condition can lead to disorientation, severe mental confusion, seizure, among other life-threatening conditions.The Journal of Hepatology, in its latest update in 2023, states that liver disease accounts for two million deaths annually and is responsible for four per cent of all deaths (one out of every 25 deaths) worldwide, with approximately two-thirds of all liver-related deaths occurring in men. 

The most common causes of liver diseases or cirrhosis worldwide are said to be related to viral hepatitis, alcohol and non-alcoholic fatty liver disease.

Science literature asserts that the liver is the most vital organ in the human body and plays several functions that include but not limited to metabolism, digestion, immunity, filtration of toxins and storage of vitamins, minerals, glucose

Although the liver has the distinct feature of healing itself, where it can regrow or regenerate after being damaged up to 60 to 70 per cent, any abnormalities in the organ could lead to serious health complications.

World Liver Day was, therefore, instituted to raise awareness of liver diseases among the general public. The day was launched by the European Association for the Study of the Liver (EASL) on April 19, 2010, to commemorate the founding of EASL in 1966. It is marked on April 19 every year in collaboration with various international and local governing groups to raise awareness and educate people on the severity, early detection and prevention of liver disease. 

As the world celebrates World Liver Day today on the theme, “Be vigilant, get regular liver check-ups and prevent fatty liver diseases,” the Daily Graphic entreats the citizenry, especially our health authorities and policymakers, to rededicate themselves to the prevention of liver disease in the country.

We remind all of how ill-health contributes to impoverishment both at the household and national levels and as such the challenges chronic liver disorders pose to the socioeconomic life of the country. There is a need to intensify education on prevention as any upsurge in liver disease would be dire for the country.

In this wise, the Daily Graphic urges the public to be conscious and adopt a healthy lifestyle as it helps the liver to work as efficiently as possible and lowers the risk of liver disease.
Regular exercise must consciously be part of everyone. We also urge the public to maintain a healthy weight, eat a healthy diet and avoid alcohol. 

The commemoration of the day also brings into sharp focus the penchant for some citizens to do self-medication. People must ensure they only take medications that have been prescribed for them, while seeing to it that they carefully follow dosage recommendations.

The Ministry of Health and the Ghana Health Service must also intensify education on the disease as they take immediate steps to bring screening points to the doorstep of citizens for the disease to be detected early. 

The Daily Graphic is aware that some forms of liver disease such as hepatitis B are preventable with the help of a vaccine, and we entreat people to take advantage of this to prevent people who are at risk of hepatitis B and have not been diagnosed from getting it.

We mustn’t allow liver diseases to become a burden; we must fight it right now.

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