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Health News Sat, 17 Nov 2007

Provide funds for free Hepatitis 'B' test

Winneba (C/R), Nov. 17, GNA - The Founder and Leader of the Voice of Salvation Ministry, a religious organization with its Headquarters at Winneba Waterworks area in the Central Region, the Reverend Joseph Ephraim Russill Aggrey, has called on the government to provide funds for the anti-Hepatitis 'B' test for all Ghanaians. This would enable the people irrespective of their economic standing to know their health status as far as the disease, described by medical experts as more dangerous than the HIV/AIDS pandemic was concerned.

Rev. Aggrey was contributing to special phone-in program on the National Health Insurance Scheme initiated by the management of the Awutu-Effutu-Senya District Mutual Health Insurance Scheme (AESDMHIS) to educate the people in and outside the District on the importance of the new national health delivery policy. The programme was carried on Radio Windy Bay of the University of Education Winneba for its Distance Education and other useful social programmes.

According to Rev. Aggrey, investigations by his Ministry conducted on the cost of medical test on Hepatitis 'B' indicated that it was expensive and could only be bore by the well to do. Rev. Aggrey noted that since majority of Ghanaians lived below the poverty level, the government should allocate special funds for the Ministry of Health to carryout a nation-wide free anti-Hepatitis 'B' test as it was done for the childhood killer diseases. He said with such a fund an appeal could be made to donors as well as Non-Governmental Organizations, philanthropists and Churches to contribute to make the Anti-Hepatitis 'B' test an annual affair to save the people from contracting the disease.

Rev. Aggrey urged various District, Municipal and Metropolitan Assemblies to set aside part of their common fund to start the initiative to attract Government assistance. He said the assemblies could set aside special funds to pay for the annual health insurance premiums of the very vulnerable to have access to affordable healthcare when they tested positive for Hepatitis 'B' infection.

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Mr. Joseph Yaw Owusu-Kwarteng, Public Relations Officer of the Awutu-Effutu-Senya District Mutual Health Insurance Scheme, appealed to Churches and other religious organizations, Traditional Councils and educational authorities in the area to help in the education of the people, particularly school children on the importance of domestic and environmental cleanliness.

He reminded the listeners that one of the major causes of the Hepatitis 'B' disease was the non-washing of hands with soap after visiting the toilet.

Mr Owusu-Kwarteng charged parents especially mothers and teachers to help in promoting the programme of hands washing with soap after visiting the toilet.

Source: GNA