By Amin Kef-Ranger
As the 28th of July marked World Hepatitis Day (WHD), Founder and Chief Executive Officer of Know Hep Foundation,Dr. Manal Ghazzawi, has called on the Government, policymakers, and global funders for prompt actions by allocating more finance toward the elimination of hepatitis.
Dr. Ghazzawi’s Know Hep Foundation Sierra Leone, which is a member of the World Hepatitis Alliance (WHA), that leads an international campaign to accelerate the fight against viral hepatitis over the weekend, was among the organizations that partnered with “WE GIVE ALL” for the walk to end Hepatitis B, held in the country’s capital city, Freetown.
Dr. Manal Ghazzawi revealed that Hepatitis B, which is more common in Sierra Leone, is on the increase and at about 10% prevalence, whilst hepatitis is among the deadly and neglected diseases citing 325 million people globally living with the disease adding that the world continues to lose 1.1 million lives every year as a result of hepatitis B and hepatitis C.
She further asserted that blood-to-blood contact, unsafe injections , bodily fluids of an infected person, inadequate sterilization of medical equipment are the mode of transmission, and Chronic Hepatitis B and C results in liver cancer, whilst the signs and symptoms are; fever tiredness, loss of appetite, dark urine to name but a few.
This year’s campaign theme is titled, “I Can’t Wait”.
“As an advocate for years in the fight against this disease, on this day, I speak on behalf of all those at risk, pregnant females, including babies born from infected mothers deprived of receiving timely free hepatitis birth dose, all those infected receiving suboptimal care they do not deserve and all those that are facing stigma and discrimination. I, therefore, urge the Government, policymakers, global funders, and decisions makers to act by increasing investment and financing hepatitis elimination,” she advocated.