The Hepatitis and Malaria (HEPMAL) project of the Noguchi Memorial Institute for Medical Research (NMIMR) has conducted a Screening and Immunization Exercise at the Maamobi General Hospital for all community members within Maamobi as part of the activities in commemoration of the World Hepatitis Day on July 28, 2022, under the theme, “Bringing Hepatitis Care to Communities – Help Can’t Wait.”
Speaking on the exercise, Head of the Department of the Electron Microscopy and Histopathology of the Institute and the Principal Investigator of the HEPMAL project, Dr. Kwadwo Kusi Asamoah explained the screening and immunization exercise is to enable the public to know their hepatitis status for early detection and prevention of the disease. Adding that it is also in line with the Institute’s core mandate of improving the health and wellbeing of Ghanaians and mankind through focused and relevant quality biomedical research, human resource development, and support of national public health activities.
Dr. Kusi indicated that the exercise is among a number of programs currently ongoing in various parts of the country which began July 24 to July 28, 2022, all in commemoration of World Hepatitis Day.
“The exercise is being done in collaboration with Maamobi General Hospital to test for the hepatitis status of the community members”. Adding that the reason for choosing Maamobi General Hospital for this year’s screening and immunization exercise is to build the capacity to manage the disease when a liver clinic is set up there.”
“Our decision to do this exercise with the Maamobi General Hospital is that we have realised the hospital does not have a clinic that manages patients with hepatitis and as part of this activity we are trying to get Maamobi General Hospital to run a liver clinic and bring on board professionals to support them in the beginning and as time goes on they can manage it themselves”, he said.
Dr. Kusi indicated that the human liver is the main organ that suffers from hepatitis disease. According to him, there are five (5) viruses that cause hepatitis which are labelled hepatitis A, B, C, D and E. Hepatitis A and E are usually contracted through contaminated water. However, hepatitis B and C are contracted through the blood, which is the most dangerous of all.
According to him, the infection rate of the hepatitis disease in Ghana is between 12-15 per cent, adding that many people infected with the disease do not even know.
“About 90 per cent of people who get infected can recover within the first six months. However, the remaining 10 per cent whose conditions get to the chronic state stand the risk of having damaged liver which consequently leads to death. It is important for people to check their hepatitis status especially those who work in place that deal with blood,” he noted.
According to Dr. Adelaide Decka, Deputy Head of Clinical Care at the Maamobi General Hospital the exercise was a good step in the right direction.
“The exercise is timely as hepatitis is on the rise in the community. Noguchi as a biomedical institute has demonstrated commitment to improving Ghanaians’ health and wellbeing. This collaboration with Maamobi General Hospital will go a long way to strengthen the bond that exist between us,” she added.