Gulu , Uganda | THE INDEPENDENT | 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.
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 noted.
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.