The Noguchi Memorial Institute for Medical Research (NMIMR) has organised a hepatitis screening exercise for the public in the Nima-Mamobi area in the Ayawaso East Municipality.
Yesterday’s exercise, done under Noguchi’s Hepatitis-Malaria (HEPMAL) project, was held at the Maamobi General Hospital in Accra.
It formed part of activities to commemorate the World Hepatitis Day marked on July 28 every year.
The day is marked by the World Health Organisation, and commemorated in over 100 countries with a host of events.
This year’s commemoration theme is: “I Can’t Wait”, a modification of the 2021 theme which read, “Hepatitis can’t wait”.
The Head of Electron Microscopy and Histopathology at the medical research institute, Dr Kwadwo Asamoah Kusi, said the screening was also to create awareness of the disease.
He said unlike malaria and other diseases, the hepatitis B virus was a silent killer, adding that one could be infected with it for years without knowing.
“The disease is a silent killer, and the only way to prevent getting infected is vaccination and getting tested. You don’t know you have it until you test, and most of the time by the time you do this and go to the hospital, it is too late,” he said.
Dr Asamoah Kusi said the institute, which held a first screening exercise last year on the campus of the University of Ghana, decided to have the second screening exercise in the Ayawaso East Municipality to involve more community members and to create greater awareness of the hepatitis B virus.
He advised the general public, especially hospital staff who work with blood, to vaccinate and test for the virus to prevent getting infected.
“So we are creating the awareness for people to know that it is important to check, especially if you work in a place where you deal with blood. Again, if you work in a hospital, this is a must for you. If you work in any area where you come into contact with other people’s blood, it is very important to check,” he said.
The Administrator of the Maamobi General Hospital, Helen Tetteh, expressed gratitude to the management of the institute for the initiative.
She said the screening would bring hepatitis to the limelight, especially in the Nima-Mamobi community, regarding the effects of the disease.