Ministry advises Botswana to protect itself against hepatitis

Botswana: Today is World Hepatitis Day. Botswana joins the rest of the world in commemorating this day, which was designated by the World Health Organization (WHO) in 2010.

Ministry advises Botswana to protect itself against hepatitis
Ministry advises Botswana to protect itself against hepatitis Image credit: Facebook

Botswana: Today is World Hepatitis Day. Botswana joins the rest of the world in commemorating this day, which was designated by the World Health Organization (WHO) in 2010.

The 28th of July of every year has been set aside as World Hepatitis Day to provide an opportunity for education and a greater understanding of viral hepatitis as a global public health problem. The commemoration aims to stimulate the strengthening of preventive and control measures for this disease by all nations around the world.

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Viral Hepatitis is one of the world’s most prevalent and serious infectious conditions. Approximately 354 million people worldwide live with hepatitis B or C, compared to 37 million people living with HIV. Hepatitis is an inflammation of the liver.

The condition can be self-limiting or progress to fibrosis (scarring), cirrhosis or liver cancer. Hepatitis viruses are the most common cause of hepatitis in the world, but other infections, toxic substances (e.g. alcohol, certain medicines and drugs), and autoimmune diseases can also cause hepatitis.

There are five main hepatitis viruses, referred to as types A, B, C, D and E. In particular, types B and C lead to chronic diseases. Common disease symptoms include jaundice (yellowish discolouration of the skin and eyes), dark urine, extreme fatigue, abdominal pain, nausea and vomiting.

The Ministry of Health (MoH) has committed to the renewed focus by the global community to end the epidemics of HIV, viral hepatitis and sexually transmitted infections (STIs) by implementing effective strategic approaches to support the Triple Elimination Initiative for Mother-to-Child Transmission (e MTCT).

Some prevention and control strategies include prevention of mother-to-child transmission, routine vaccination programmes for children under the age of one (1) and at-risk groups, safe sexual practices and safe blood transfusion practices.

This year’s Theme is “One Life, One Liver.” Hepatitis can devastate both the liver and the life. The Theme highlights the importance of the liver for a healthy life and the need to scale up viral hepatitis prevention, testing and treatment to optimize liver health, prevent liver disease and achieve the 2030 hepatitis elimination goals.

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The Ministry of Health, therefore, would like to take this opportunity to urge Batswana and all residents of this country to take an interest in issues of their health, including learning about hepatitis and all available preventative and management measures.