Medics Cautioned Against Stealing Hepatitis B Vaccines

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In short
The biggest complaints are coming from Lango and districts in Acholi where government has intensified efforts to vaccinate adults against hepatitis B. Complaints are also coming from Sembabule district where those seeking to be vaccinated were asked to pay 30,000 Shillings per shot. One needs three shots of the vaccine to be protected against the virus.

The Ministry of Health has raised an alarm bell over the alleged sell of Hepatitis B vaccines in districts where they are supposed to be offered at no cost.

The Ministry's Permanent Secretary Dr Diana Atwine the President has received complaints that the drugs are now sold in private clinics and that some health workers were extorting money from those seeking the services.

The biggest complaints are coming from Lango and districts in Acholi where government has intensified efforts to vaccinate adults against hepatitis B. Complaints are also coming from Sembabule district where those seeking to be vaccinated were asked to pay 30,000 Shillings per shot. One needs three shots of the vaccine to be protected against the virus.
 
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President Museveni has lately stemmed up efforts to educate the public against Hepatitis B. While officiating at the 2017 International Women's day celebrations in Dokolo district, the President tasked the Health Minister, Dr Jane Aceng to breakdown government interventions in the fight against hepatitis. One of his concerns was why many were not being vaccinated or on treatment.

Hepatitis B is a contagious and infectious disease of the liver caused by the Hepatitis B Virus (HBV), also known as serum hepatitis. The symptoms of the disease do not develop until after a few weeks of exposure. Commonly, Hepatitis B is transmitted from an infected person's blood, and through unprotected sex. It is not transmitted casually.

After an incubation period of three to four months, acute hepatitis B is usually associated with a loss of appetite, weakness, nausea, abdominal pain, jaundice, skin rash, and joint pain that last several weeks.

3.5 million Ugandans (10 percent of the total Ugandan population) are living with chronic hepatitis B, with the highest infection rates in Karamoja (23.9 percent), North­ern Uganda (20 percent), West Nile (18.5 percent) and western region (10 percent). Hepatitis B (HBV) is responsible for 80 percent of all liver cancers at Mulago National Referral Hospital.

The government according to Dr Diana Atwine is offering free treatment for those that test positive of hepatitis. Atwine says those that have tested positive of the virus in some districts have been slow to seek treatment.

She says the Ministry of Health also still has some logistical issues to ensure that the medications reach those that need them.
 
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Though treatable, hepatitis B just like HIV/AIDS is not curable. Hepatitis B was declared a public health threat in Uganda making it mandatory for health workers and the public to be vaccinated against the virus.