The Ministry Health will start vaccinating newly born babies against Hepatitis B, a move aimed at reducing the number of adults who develop liver cirrhosis.
Most adults with liver cirrhosis resulting from hepatitis develop it when they are young, according to doctors.
The announcement was made by Health Minister Dr. Jane Aceng during the first African Hepatitis Summit that begun Tuesday at Speke Resort Munyonyo.
The summit has attracted delegates from 22 countries on the African continent. Currently, Uganda carries out routine immunization of hepatitis for children before they are three months old. The children get shots at 6, 10 and 14 weeks after birth.
Uganda’s plan to introduce vaccination at birth is in line the WHO’s 2020 goal to reduce the prevalence of viral hepatitis on the African continent and calls for vaccination of up 50 percent of the baby population at birth.
The new measure, according to the Health ministry, will also reduce prevalence of lung cancer in the country. The prevalence of liver cancer stands at 12.2 percent.
Data from the Health Ministry shows that the prevalence of hepatitis B and C stand at 4.1 and 1.2 percent respectively.
The Ministry is also planning to avail free treatment for all persons diagnosed with Hepatitis C. The program will be funded by the Egyptian government, which in the past has managed to vaccinate 60 million people against Hep C with free vaccines provided by Abbot Pharmaceuticals.