Gulu District health department is
struggling to contain Hepatitis B infections because of the failure by
residents to embrace vaccination. At least 832 people tested positive for
hepatitis B between January 2020 and February 2021, according to statistics
from the District health department.
Twenty-nine of these succumbed to the
disease. Nineteen people died due to acute Hepatitis B, 7 succumbed to liver
cirrhosis while 3 died of hepatocellular. The infections have grown among
people between 20 and 59 years of age, which accounts for 707 people, 85
infections occurred among people between 10 to 19 years while 13 were children.
172 of the hepatitis B patients were
admitted at Gulu Regional Referral Hospital and the remaining 55 at St. Mary’s
Hospital Lacor. The Hepatitis B prevalence in the District now stands at 10%. Only
141 of the 354 vaccinated last year returned for the second dose and only 61
completed the vaccination.
William Onyai, the Gulu District Health
Educator, says that the disease has remained a challenge noting that many people
have failed to embrace Hepatitis B vaccination.
//Cue in: “We have eight hundred...
Cue out:….others need treatment,”//
Geoffrey Okello, a resident of Laroo in Gulu City says despite his fear for the
Hepatitis B vaccine he was forced to get vaccinated when his wife tested
positive. “I didn’t know my wife was sick until I got her schedule of the
treatment and I didn’t have a choice other than to get vaccinated,” Okello
Christopher Nyeko, a resident of Pece Pawel in Gulu City, says that he was
surprised when he tested for Hepatitis B. “I was tested when I wanted to donate
blood to a patient. But the Doctor said I was positive,” Nyeko said.
The District has equally confirmed 246 Hepatitis
C cases of the 4,716 tests conducted. 225 of these have since been treated and
recovered. Elvis Romanson Okello, the Biostatistician at Gulu District
Health Department has called for a study to establish the burden of the disease
in the District so as to prepare how to handle the disease.