Chronic hepatitis B is a debilitating disease that affects >8% of Ghanaians. If left untreated it can lead to liver cancer, the country's highest source of cancer morbidity. While hepatitis B is easily transmissible - 50-100x more contagious than HIV - it can be prevented through a cheap and effective vaccine. Unfortunately, this solution is sorely underutilized in Ghana. This project aims to screen and vaccinate roughly 400 students at Nyanyano D. A. Government School.
What is the issue, problem, or challenge?
Hepatitis B usually lacks visible symptoms, so those infected rarely think to be screened. However, if left untreated the disease can lead to severe liver damage and compromise quality of life. Based on our own research, we found that 75% of people in Nyanyano do not have regular check-ups but only visit the hospital when they are already sick. These people are unlikely to catch the hepatitis B virus before it progresses to a chronic illness, and are very unlikely to ever be vaccinated.
How will this project solve this problem?
While vaccinations are available, the cost and effort of transportation are deterrents for those who don't live close to clinics. Additionally, vaccinating a child (~ US $18) is a costly expense for a fisherman with an unreliable seasonal income. This project's solution is threefold: We will a) cover the cost of vaccinations; b) eliminate the burden of travel by bringing the necessary screening equipment directly to the community; and c) educate students on prevention of hepatitis.
Potential Long Term Impact
This project aims to vaccinate all year 4, 5, and 6 students at the Nyanyano D.A. Government School against hepatitis B. Vaccinating one child will not only protect that child, but also those whom he or she could potentially infect as a carrier. After the health education talks the students will come away with a greater understanding of the manifestation and prevention of infectious diseases that are common in their community.
This project has been retired and is no longer accepting donations.