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Cameroon launches strategic plan to fight against viral hepatitis

Cameroon’s 2020-2024 National Strategic Plan for the fight against viral hepatitis has been launched as stakeholders seek to eliminate the viral disease.

The strategic plan was launched on Friday, August 28 in Yaounde during a ceremony chaired by the Secretary General of the Ministry of Public Health Professor Louis Richard Ndjock.

The priority strategic orientations of the plan are the prevention of viral hepatitis, the management of cases through care, treatment, the continuum of care, epidemiological surveillance and operational research, Professor Ndjock said as he launched the event.

The expected impact results from the implementation of the plan are, in particular the reduction of at least 60% in mortality attributable to chronic hepatitis B, C and D.

Health experts equally said, they expect a decrease in the prevalence of hepatitis B and D respectively from 11.9 to 9% and 10.5 to 8% and; as well as maintaining the prevalence of hepatitis C virus infection below 1% in people aged 15 to 49 years. These; they said are the parameters that will help assess progress towards elimination of viral hepatitis.

On his part, the WHO representative in Cameroon, Dr Phanuel Habimana said achieving coverage of at least 90% in the Region is expected to go a long way towards preventing more than 1.5 million new infections and 1.2 million liver cancer deaths by 2035.

“Hepatitis B accounts for 85% of the hepatitis disease burden in the WHO African Region. The most vulnerable period of infection is during the first month of life and can be prevented by vaccination against hepatitis B, precisely by giving a birth dose during the first 24 hours of life,” he warned.

For the Cameroonian gastroenterology society, represented by Dr Kowo  Mathurin the vaccine against hepatitis B should be introduced 24 hours after birth and not after six weeks as it is currently the case in hospitals.

The Secretary General at the Ministry of Public Health reassured all stakeholders that the strategic plan will resolve the diagnostic equation while stressing that the introduction of the hepatitis B vaccine 24 hours after birth will be effective in the coming days in line with the expanded program on immunization.

Published on 28.04.2020

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