Panafrican News Agency

16,000 Liberian health workers to take Hepatitis B vaccination

MONROVIA, May 13 (PANA) - The National Public Health Institute of Liberia (NPHIL) has launched a Hepatitis B vaccination campaign targeting healthcare workers across the West African nation.


The campaign will reach 16,000 health service workers, starting on Monday, NPHIL Director General Tolbert Nyensuah told newsmen.


He said over 54, 000 doses of the Hepatitis B vaccine were donated by the PROBITAS Foundation and GRIFOLS, two international organizations, to NPHIL through UNICEF.


Nyensuah assured the available vaccines are enough to inoculate all 16,000 healthcare workers in both public and private health facilities in Liberia, based on data from the Liberia Institute for Statistics and Geo-Information Service (LISGIS) healthcare workers census.


“Findings from the Blood Safety Programme of Liberia and other laboratories have revealed growing increase of the Hepatitis B Virus in Liberia and healthcare workers have a higher risk of infection due to their daily exposure to blood and body fluids from patients,” he noted.


Hepatitis B is a viral infection that attacks the liver and can cause both acute and chronic disease. The virus is transmitted through contact with the blood or other body fluids of an infected person.


Nyenswah indicated that, according to the World Health Organization (WHO), an estimated 257 million people are living with the Hepatitis B virus infection.


He pointed out that the WHO also revealed that hepatitis B is a major global public health problem, an important occupational hazard for healthcare workers and a potentially life-threatening infection.


Nyenswah added that the virus can be prevented through the administering of the Hepatitis B vaccine which has been available since 1982 and is safe and effective.


He noted that the vaccination will be launched at three hospitals, including Liberia’s largest referral facility, the John f. Kennedy Medical Center in the capital, Monrovia, and then spread across the length and breadth of the country.


The Hepatitis B Vaccination Project is being carried out in collaboration with the Liberian Government through NPHIL and the Ministry of Health as well as international partners in the health sector.

-0- PANA PTK/AR 13May2019