6% of Uganda’s Population Chronically Infected with Hepatitis B- MOH


Experts from the Ministry of Health have revealed that over 6 percent of Uganda’s population is chronically infected with Hepatitis-B which is one of the country’s disease burdens.

In a move to manage the situation, the Ministry has started a sensitization drive through different media platforms to educate the masses about the dangers of the disease as the country is set to commemorate the World Hepatitis B on 28 August this year at Kazo district.

Dr. Racheal Beyagira the Hepatitis B technical officer from the Ministry of Health during a media engagement at Hotel Africana on Thursday revealed that the Uganda Population-Based HIV Impact Assessment survey which also included Hepatitis B done in 2016 showed the regional prevalence of the disease, but since then there has not been any survey done.

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However, there has been some modeled data that has been collected by the scientists in Uganda which showed that as of 2020, 6 percent of the population are infected by Hepatitis B and the modeled data also showed that 1250 people had died of the disease.

Dr. Beyagira also revealed that the transmission of the disease is majorly from mother to child during birth and sharing of sharp objects and the most affected age group are the children of five years and below whose immune system is not yet developed to fight the virus when it enters the body as opposed to the adults.

In a bid to manage the situation, Dr. Bayagira said that the Ministry of Health introduced the Hepatitis B birth dose vaccination to all newborn babies in the country, an initiative which was rolled out in 2020.

Despite the strides taken by the ministry, there is still low uptake of the testing and vaccination by the population and the loss of follow-up and non-adherence to the medicine for those who test positive for Hepatitis B.

Dr. Bayagira showed concern about the myth and misconception of the disease among the community where people think that even if you touch the sweet or kiss a Hepatitis B-infected person one can acquire the disease.

Dr. Kaggwa Mugagga the WHO country advisor on HIV, Hepatitis, and STI in Uganda said that the WHO has organized a strategic plan starting from year 2022 extending up to 2030 when the sustainable Development Goal is reached.

He highlighted that WHO aims at eliminating AIDS and Viral Hepatitis, especially the chronic viral hepatitis B and C and sexually transmitted diseases.

Hepatitis is a viral infection that causes an injury to the liver and there are several types of hepatitis which include A, B, C, D, and E.

However, according to experts, hepatitis A and E can only cause short-term infections. People can get it and recover easily unlike with Hepatitis B and C, which cause long-term injuries to the lever hence death if not managed

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