Cameroon Tribune (Yaoundé)

30 Juillet 2013

Cameroun: Over Four Million Viral Hepatitis Cases In Cameroon

Minister of Public Health, André Mama Fouda, held a press conference in Yaounde on July 28.

About two billion people worldwide are infected and 350 million live with chronic liver disease. In 2010, the World Health Organisation (WHO) recognised the control of hepatitis as a public health priority and recommended that it should be given the same prominence as the control of malaria, tuberculosis and AIDS.

In Cameroon, 13 per cent of the population suffers from Hepatitis C and 10 per cent from Hepatitis B, giving a total of 4,500,000 persons. The revelation was made yesterday July 28, 2013 during a press conference in Yaounde by the Minister of Public Health André Mama Fouda. The declaration was in line with activities to mark the Third World Hepatitis Day in Cameroon. The theme for this year was "Get screened, vaccinated or treated".

André Mama Fouda said the ignorance of the population, exposure to practices and risk behaviours expose more and more people every day to these diseases. According to the Minister, mobilising for hepatitis control is a duty for everyone. He used the occasion to call on all to wholly and efficiently raise population awareness.

Concerning prevention of viral hepatitis, Minister Mama Fouda said immunisation is the pillar of the prevention against Hepatitis B. He used the opportunity to announce to the population that Cameroon is getting to a generation free of Hepatitis given the existence of the vaccine against viral Hepatitis B which is contained in a package of Expanded Programme of Immunisation freely offered to every child below one year.

Regarding Hepatitis C, nearly 90 per cent of cases recover from the long treatment of nearly 12 months. To increase access to this expensive treatment that recently was between FCFA 8 and FCFA 10 million a year ago in 2012, the government negotiated a thirty five per cent price reduction of the cost of one of the interferon molecules with the Hoffman-L Roche Laboratory from FCFA 159,000 to FCFA 104,000 of weekly treatment. In the same light the other Ribavirine molecule is free of charge.

During the weekly activities for Hepatitis, 4,250 persons were screened, 3,000 in Yaounde and 1,250 in Douala at the expense of Hoffman La Roche. Screenings in other regions are on-going following the established scheduled. The Minister used the occasion to encourage patients on treatment to respect the duration of treatment as prescribed by the doctors. The press conference took place in the presence of the Minister of Communication, Issa Tchiroma Bakary.

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