Liberia: Gov’t Launches Hepatitis B Vaccine; Targets 16,000 Health Workers
Monrovia – The Government of Liberia through the National Public Health Institute has launched the Hepatitis B Vaccination Project in the country. The project was launched on May 10, 2019, at the Redemption Hospital in the Borough of New Kru Town on the Bushrod Island.
Speaking during the launch of the project, the Director General of the National Public Health Institute of Liberia Talbert Nyenswah said the project seeks to protect health workers including medical and paramedical students against Hepatitis B virus infection.
According to Director Nyenswah, health care workers are people who come in contact with patients that carry these infectious diseases.
Therefore, he indicated vaccinating them against infectious diseases as well as providing them with protective equipment will protect them from getting infected and their families at home as well. He recalled how the country lost some of its experience Doctors and Nurses during the Ebola crisis when they got infected by patients they came in contact with.
He encouraged health workers in the country to take advantage of this opportunity by taking the vaccine. He thanked PROBITAS FOUNDATION and GRIFOLS, two International Organizations for procuring 54,000 doses of the Hepatitis B vaccines on behalf of NPHIL through UNICEF.
Launching the projects officially, the Deputy Minister and Chief Medical Officer of Liberia Dr. Francis Kateh said Hepatitis B virus infection is on the increase in Liberia and the vaccination of health workers to protect them from being infected is one of the intervention strategies that the Ministry of Health and NPHIL have initiated.
He said “the Government of Liberia through the Ministry of Health sees the protection of every citizen of Liberia against infectious diseases as paramount. Therefore, the protection of health workers in Liberia is an essential component of our health care delivery system”, he asserted. “I, therefore, called on you to take the vaccine” he concluded.
Hepatitis B is a viral infection that attacks the liver and can cause both acute and chronic disease. The virus is transmitted through contact with blood or other body fluids of an infected person.
According to the World Health Organization (WHO), an estimated 257 million people are living with hepatitis B virus infection (defined as hepatitis B surface antigen positive).
The WHO, further states that Hepatitis B is a major global public health problem and an important occupational hazard for health care workers with a potentially life-threatening infection.
However, the hepatitis virus can be prevented through the administering of the Hepatitis B vaccines. This vaccine has been available since 1982 and is safe and effective.