By Violet Nabatanzi
The ministry of health has started a mass Hepatitis B vaccination exercise for people aged 14 and 30 years.
The campaign launched over the weekend is targeting five million people from thirty districts across the country,
three million from northern Uganda and an additional two million from other districts which are at risk of acquiring the virus.
Hepatitis is the inflammation of the liver which is the commonest cause of liver cancer globally, accounting for 83% of the cases.
In a statement issued in the media Dr. Amandua Jacinto, the commissioner clinical services, the ministry is targeting these regions because they have a high prevalence rate.
In a ministerial press statement on the world Hepatitis day and launch of the Hepatitis B programme, health minister Dr. Elioda Tumwesigye revealed that government introduced the pentavalent vaccine since 2002 into the routine immunization schedules of the Uganda Expanded Program on Immunization(UNEPI).
"If the UNEPI schedules were followed and adhered to, children of up to 13 years of age would be fully immunized against Hepatitis B," he noted.
Tumwesigye revealed that all health workers and medical students in all training institutions are mandated to under Hepatitis B vaccination since they are front line health workers.
"Health workers are at the front line and can infect or be infected by patients who may be carrying the hepatitis B virus," he said.
About 3.5 million people are living with Hepatitis B in the country. Of these 2.7% are in north east, 19.4 % in the north central and 10% in West Nile among others.
Amandua disclosed that government has put aside sh10b for the entire hepatitis fight.
Of this, sh7.5b is for the vaccination exercise, sh2.6b for testing kits, and the rest for medicines and treating the already infected groups.
Mass Hepatitis B vaccinations starts