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Untreated hepatitis cause about 80 per cent liver cancers

BY: Joycelyn Kyei-Baffuor

THE Ghana Association for the Study of Liver and Digestive Diseases, (GASLLID) has encouraged the public to know their hepatitis status to improve health outcomes and prevent long-term complications.

At a screening exercise organised by the association at the La Market Complex in Accra, the President of GASLIDD, Professor Yao Asante Awuku, explained that untreated hepatitis ‘B’ and ‘C’ were the cause of about 80 per cent of all liver cancers in the country.
“It is important to know your status to improve the disease burden. Hepatitis ‘C ‘ is curable but ‘B’ is not. If you don’t have it, get vaccinated. If we are able to get rid of this virus, liver cancer will reduce considerably,” he stated.

Prevalence, Risk factors Hepatitis B’ is largely transmitted through bodily fluids, blood or contaminated medical instruments. The risk factors for ‘C’ include high-risk sexual contact and blood transfusions.

According to GASLIDD, recent data indicates that one in eight Ghanaians has hepatitis ‘B’ while one in 30 Ghanaians has hepatitis ‘C’.

Screening
As part of activities to mark this year’s World Hepatitis Day, GASLIDD in collaboration with Roche, the Hepatitis Society of Ghana and the La Dade Kotopon Municipal Health Directorate organised a free screening and vaccination exercise for over 200 traders.

The traders were also sensitised to the disease. Gastroenterologist and the Deputy Planning Committee Chairperson of the Hepatitis Day Celebration in the country, Dr Sally Afua Bampoh, hinted at the establishment of hepatitis clinics at the La and Maamobi polyclinics by the close of the year.

“The association is in discussion with some key stakeholders about the establishment of hepatitis clinics in communities as part of efforts to improve access to health care.” She also advised the public to desist from stigmatising persons who contract the disease. World Hepatitis Day World Hepatitis Day is commemorated on July 28 each year to step up national and international efforts to manage the disease.

This year the focus is on “Bringing hepatitis care closer to the primary health facilities and communities” so that people can have better access to treatment and care. The World Health Organisation, (WHO) aims to achieve hepatitis elimination by
2030.