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Hepatitis B fight: Parliament pushes for increased funding

By Moses Mulondo

Added 8th January 2016 11:36 AM

Hepatitis B is a deadly disease caused by the hepatitis B virus which affects the liver and is spread through contact with the blood or body fluids of an infected person.

Hepatitis B fight: Parliament pushes for increased funding

Hepatitis B is a deadly disease caused by the hepatitis B virus which affects the liver and is spread through contact with the blood or body fluids of an infected person.

KAMPALA - Following pressure from legislators, the finance ministry has tasked the ministry of health to submit a supplementary budget request for combating Hepatitis B which is killing many people in various parts of the country.

The move was announced by the finance minister Matia Kasaija after many MPs had expressed dismay that government is not doing enough to save the lives of Ugandans who are dying from the epidemic.

"At the ministry of finance, we value life. We are ready to frontload (release at ago) all the money that was budgeted for Hepatitis B vaccines. We are even ready to grant a supplementary budget request for combating the epidemic," Kasaija said while responding to criticisms from legislators that his ministry is not treating Hepatitis as a national emergency that requires urgent attention.

Hepatitis B is a deadly infectious disease caused by the hepatitis B virus which affects the liver and is spread like HIV/AIDS through contact with the blood or body fluids of an infected person. The disease is best controlled through vaccination.

Common symptoms for someone with the disease include abdominal pain, dark urine, fever, joint pain, loss of appetite, nausea, vomiting, fatigue, and yellowing of the skin and eyes.

Raising it as a matter of national concern, Busongora North MP William Nzoghu reported to the house that the disease has killed over 30 people in his Rwenzori region in the last three weeks.

Terego County MP Kassiano Wadri said 14% of the people in Northern Uganda are suffering from Hepatitis B.

Parliament health committee chairman and Mbarara Municipality MP Medard Bitecherezo said, "The people are dying of the disease because of absence of vaccination. When parliament gave sh10b for vaccines, the finance ministry did not release it at ago. This is a matter of saving lives which government should not take lightly."

Padyere County MP Joshua Anywarach said, "It is sad that out of 112 districts, only 12 districts have been catered for. I hope Nebbi is one of them. There is a village in Nebbi where every day we burry someone who has died of Hepatitis B."

Agago woman MP Franca Akello said, "Our people especially in in Acholi, Lango, West Nile, and Teso are greatly hit by Hepatitis B. People are dying every day. Government should handle this epidemic as a national crisis."

The state minister for primary healthcare Sarah Opebdi explained that her ministry lacks adequate funds to procure vaccines to cover the whole country. She said the sh10b they have allocated can cover only 12 districts.

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