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Health Ministry wants sh3b to fight Hepatitis E

By Vision Reporter

Added 19th March 2014 03:55 PM

The ministry of health is seeking for sh2.969b to fund a protracted six-month campaign to control Hepatitis E which has for long devastated Karamoja region and surrounding areas.

Health Ministry wants sh3b to fight Hepatitis E

The ministry of health is seeking for sh2.969b to fund a protracted six-month campaign to control Hepatitis E which has for long devastated Karamoja region and surrounding areas.

By Francis Kagolo      
                                                                       
The ministry of health is seeking for sh2.969b to fund a protracted six-month campaign to control Hepatitis E which has for long devastated Karamoja region and surrounding areas.


 At least 967 cases of Hepatitis E infections including 23 deaths have been reported in Karamoja since it broke out on December 1, 2013, according Dr. Jane Aceng, the director general of health services.

 The killer viral liver disease was first confirmed in Napak district, but later spread to other districts of Moroto, Kotido, Nakapiripirit, Abim, Amudat, Katakwi and Amuria.

The disease was first reported in June last year although the situation worsened around October when it claimed at least 10 pregnant women. Since then there has been increasing transmission in the communities, affecting mostly females.

  Aceng said the disease has increased the risk of maternal death in the Karamoja sub region. She said 15 (65.7%) of the 23 deaths occurred in expectant mothers, several leaving behind premature babies.

  She made the disclosure during a high level advocacy meeting on hepatitis E organized by the ministry at the Kampala Golf Course Hotel on Tuesday.  

 Several government ministers and senior officials from different sectors and development partners attended the meeting during which they used to advocate for increased funding to avert the pandemic.

The ministry’s strategy to control the epidemic includes social mobilisation and health education, treatment, as well as improving access to safe water, sanitation and hygiene.

Of the sh2.969b budget, expects to inject sh64.69m on training health workers in Napak district managing epidemics like hepatitis while sh2.5b will go into enhancing hygiene and access to safe water.

 A big chunk of funds will facilitate advocacy meetings with local leaders as well as strengthening the capacity of village health teams (VHTs) to mobilise villagers for better hygiene to control the disease.

 Hepatitis E is a liver disease caused by the hepatitis E virus, a non-enveloped virus transmitted mainly through drinking contaminated water. The infection usually resolves within four to six weeks, occasionally developing into acute liver failure, which can lead to death.

Globally, there are approximately 20 million incidents of hepatitis E infections and 57,000 related deaths every year, according to the World Health Organisation (WHO).

Karamoja region, where Napak is found, is prone to Hepatitis E because of its low latrine coverage and lack of safe drinking water. Over 75% of households in the 27,900sqkm sub-region lack access to latrines, according to ministry of water and environment reports.   

Speaking at the meeting, WHO’s representative in Uganda Dr. Wondi Alemu implored the Government to earmark adequate resources to improve safe water coverage in Karamoja.

Barbra Nekesa, the state minister for Karamoja affairs, suggested recourse to pumping underground water instead of relying on boreholes which breakdown often.

 

Health Ministry wants sh3b to fight Hepatitis E

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