Mrs Georgina Anafo, a student of the Department of Psychology and Education of the University, made the appeal on behalf of the group at a day’s Seminar on the theme: “Hepatitis B and You: the Way Forward”.
The event was attended by both basic and senior high students, teachers, parents and senior members of UEW.
“The World Health Organisation (WHO) estimates that more than two billion people have been exposed to Hepatitis B Virus and more than 4000 million people are chronically infected with the virus. Moreover, one million people die every year due to complications of Hepatitis B including cirrhosis and liver cancer,” Mrs Anafo said.
She said the 2017 Ghana Health Service statistics on Hepatitis B indicates that in Ghana, the prevalent rate was estimated between 10-15 per cent, which was higher than that of HIV/AIDS, which was 1.37 per cent as at 2014.
The report further stated that Ghana was rated a higher risk country for Hepatitis B and that children below age six who became infected with the virus were most likely to develop chronic infections.
During the 2017 World Hepatitis Day held in Takoradi, Dr Nii Anum Ayerh, the Vice President of Hepatitis Society of Ghana, was reported to have said that of every 100 Ghanaians, 13 may test positive for Hepatitis B of which most were not aware of.
Mrs Anafo said research conducted revealed that people from endemic regions, babies of mothers with chronic Hepatitis B Virus, sexually active young adolescents, intravenous drug abusers, people with multiple sex partners, healthcare personnel who have contact with blood, residents and staff members of institutions for the mentally retarded were the high-risk groups of the virus infection.
The most effective means of preventing the disease is through vaccination, she said, and called on school guidance coordinators to educate students on the disease and ask them to avoid sharing personal care items such as blade and tooth brushes.
Mrs Anafo called for the sensitisation of parents during PTA meetings, and that marriage counsellors in churches and other religious leaders should advice their members to know their status and help alleviate the high incidence of the disease in the society, particularly among children.