Kampala, Uganda, 22nd June, 2009. Hima Cement has launched a Hepatitis awareness campaign for its employees, to reduce the risk of spread of the killer virus amongst its employees. Hepatitis which means inflammation of the liver is caused by a virus, and may take the form of Hepatitis A, B, C, D, E, and G.
The one day seminar with emphasis on Hepatitis B is part of an ongoing employee health defense training programs that will focus on increasing awareness and prevention of major killers like Hepatitis B as well as provide an opportunity for employees to receive testing and vaccination where necessary.
According to the WHO, an estimated 2 billion people world wide are infected with Hepatitis B and 350 million people are carriers to the potentially life-threatening ‘silent killer’ disease that often has no symptoms, making it difficult to know you have it. About 600,000 people die each year due to the acute or chronic effects of Hepatitis B.
Addressing employees of Hima Cement, Dr Yvonne Nabunnya a practitioner from Case Medical center said, “One of the most serious concerns in the medical profession is Hepatitis B, a preventable disease that causes devastating liver disease. She added that Hepatitis B is 50 to 100 times more infectious than HIV/AIDS and causes long term ill health as well as predisposing one to Liver cancer and liver failure. This is why such awareness trainings are important as they do not only reduce chances of people getting the disease but also help those already infected with it to seek the right medical attention.”
Dr Nabunnya added that, “Prevention is the essential first step to help ensure the safety of Hima Cement employees and the public at large. A shift to an increased emphasis on prevention should be at the core of Hima Cement’s Policies.” Hepatitis B is preventable with a safe and effective vaccine.
A person may have been exposed to Hepatitis through contact with infected body fluids like sweat, saliva and blood, and from mother to child in pregnancy. When the liver is infected it becomes inflamed and does not effectively perform its functions which include filtering toxic substances and waste products from the blood.
Dennis Kashero Hima Cement’s Commercial Manager said, “Hima Cement is using this opportunity to educate its employees, calling for the government and health bodies to take the problem seriously and provide resources for education, screening and 20 year guaranteed vaccination from the virus.”
Last year the government launched an emergency response plan to contain hepatitis E epidemic in affected districts, with a focus on sensitizing local people on proper hygiene and improving sanitation in camps for displaced people. This was after 120 people had reportedly been killed by the disease.
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