Gov’t launches Hepatitis Strategic Plan

Gov’t launches Hepatitis Strategic Plan

By Kitab Unango
The government with support from its main health partner, the World Health Organization, has launched a five years’ strategic plan to combat hepatitis infection in South Sudan.
The virus is one of the global health issues that has already affected over 1.2 million people in South Sudan with one million suffering from hepatitis B and 250 000 others battling hepatitis C infection.
Thousands more people in the country are said to have already succumbed to the virus due to poor health system to prevent and provide better treatment.
The five years’ strategic plan that will run through 2024 sets guidelines to cut in number of infections and death cases by 40 and 20 percent respectively, comes 2014, paving way to achieving the global sustainable goal 5 by 2030.
“Thousands are affected every year due to lack of prevention, testing and treatment services in the country. Hundreds also die due to terminal liver complication,” Elizabeth Acuei, Minister of Health said during the launch of the strategic plan last Wednesday.
According to the Minster of Health, the plan, if funded, will cut the huge disease burden the country has experienced, exacerbated by COVID-19 pandemic, and capacitate health system to expand immunization program against the virus.
According the World Health Organization (WHO) Africa, has nearly 71 million people with chronic hepatitis and at least three die daily due liver cancer and other complication caused by the virus.
“At this stage, we need to bring our efforts together combat hepatitis virus,” said Dr. Olushayo Olu, WHO Country Representative. “There are two things we need to do, introducing hepatitis vaccine and we must also be strengthening immunization.”
Olu also emphasized the need to improve on safety in all health care settings in the country to prevent the spread of the virus.
However, Dr. Oromo Francis, Consultant Pathology said lack of financing the strategic and guideline plans will be a great challenge to its implementation.
“The government is to invest further to bring more diagnostic equipment and more drugs and continue the policy of capacity building so that we can manage the disease well. This is very important because one of the challenges is financing,” Dr. Oromo said.

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