Hepatitis B outbreak hits Ssembabule

By Dismus Buregyeya

The Hepatitis B prevalence in Ssembabule district has hit 21%

Foreign Affairs Minister, Sam Kutesa has asked the Health Ministry to rush to Ssembabule to contain the Hepatitis B outbreak in the district.

Kutesa, the Mawogola North Constituency MP, said Ssembabule should be listed among the districts hit by the Hepatitis B outbreak for immediate redress.

The locals led by the Lugusulu LC3 chairman, Fred Karakure told Kutesa that the affected residents have failed to access health care to contain the outbreak.

“Our people suffering with the Hepatitis B outbreak, we do not have access to treatment. We are finding it difficult to meet costs of handling the disease at Byansi Clinic in Masaka, we need government’s intervention” he said.

A total of 12 people tested positive for Hepatitis B in Ssembabule out of the 53 who were screened in Ssembabule according to the DHO, Dr Charles Matovu.

He said the district drew the matter to the attention of the Centre of Disease Control (CDC) authorities for redress.

Dr Matovu said the Hepatitis B prevalence in Ssembabule district has hit 21%.

New Vision learnt that the prevalence of Hepatitis B was first detected in Ssembabule last month during the UPDF recruitment exercise when several candidates were disqualified for testing positive for the disease.

Government has rolled out a massive vaccination against Hepatitis B in 25 out of the 39 districts hit by the disease.

The disease outbreak is high in the Western and Northern regions according to Health Minister, Ruth Aceng.

Responding to the locals in Ssembabule who asked government not to scrap health centres at parish level, Kutesa said the matter should be reviewed to retain health centre II facilities which are serving high populations.

The locals also expressed concern over the high rate of absenteeism at health centres in the district. The Ssembabule RDC Henry Baguma said some of the health staff work in shifts which is wrong.

He said the medical staff at the health centres abandons work to do their side businesses.  Baguma said he has been making abrupt visits in health centres as a strategy to fight against staff absenteeism.