In remarks at the launch of the campaign at the weekend, the Director General of the National Public Health Institute (NPHIL), Tolbert G. Nyenswah, described the launch of the Hepatitis campaign as a remarkable milestone in the health sector, stating that the campaign is targeting 16,000 healthcare workers across the fifteen political sub-divisions of Liberia.
Hepatitis B is a viral infection that attacks the liver and can cause both acute and chronic disease and death that is transmitted through contact with the blood or other body fluids of an infected person.
Director Nyenswah quoted the World Health Organization (WHO) as saying an estimated 257 million people in the world are living with the Hepatitis B virus infection.
He pointed out that the WHO also revealed that Hepatitis ‘B’. is a major global public health problem and an important occupational hazard for healthcare workers, with potentially life-threatening infection.
The NPHIL Director General said the Hepatitis Virus can be prevented through the administering of the Hepatitis B. Vaccines which have been available since 1982, noting that it is safe and effective.
“Findings from the Blood safety Program of Liberia and other laboratories have revealed the rising increase of the Hepatitis B. Virus in Liberia and healthcare workers have high risk of infection due to their daily exposure to blood and body fluids of patients,” he noted.
Nyenswah disclosed that currently, there are over 54, 000 doses of the Hepatitis B. Vaccine in the country and that they were procured by the PROBITAS Foundation and GRIFOLS, two international organizations on behalf of NPHIL through UNICEF.
The NPHIL boss asserted that these vaccines are adequate to inoculate all 16,000 healthcare workers in both public and private health facilities in Liberia based on the data from the Liberia Institute of Statistics and Geo-Information Service (LISGIS) healthcare workers census.
The Hepatitis B. vaccination were symbolically launched at the John F. Kennedy Medical Center, Redemption Hospital and James Davies Hospital in Monrovia.
The project launch was a collaboration of the Liberian government through NPHIL and the Ministry of Health as well as international partners in the health sector.