SI has the highest Hepatitis cases in the Western Pacific Region
Solomon Islands has the highest number of Hepatitis B patients in the Western Pacific region.
Dr. Jackson Rakei National Program Director of the Ministry of Health and Medical Services confirmed this during World Hepatitis Day today in Honiara today.
“In the Western Pacific region hepatitis B is estimated to stand at 20 percent and hepatitis C at 1 percent, approximately one out of every five people in the Solomon Islands has hepatitis B,” Dr. Rakei said.
Dr. Jackson Rakei said an estimated 53,000 to 79,000 are living with hepatitis B in the country.
Hepatitis B is currently ranked as the sixth most common cause of death at the National Referral Hospital (NRH) and ranked fourth in all causes of cancer in the country.
Dr. Rakei said a total of 90 chronic hepatitis B patients are currently registered at the hospital.
“Out of the 90 patients registered 27 are on treatment, while the rest are not on treatment due to loss of follow up because of geographical location, patients advanced with decomposed liver while others opt for herbal and custom medicines,” he said
He confirmed out of the 27 patients on treatment, four have died due to end-stage liver complications.
He added, the Ministry has included the hepatitis program into the STI/HIV national strategic plan 2019-2023 which is supported by the World Health Organization in efforts to curb hepatitis B diseases.
“The ministry will be rolling out a program in three priority areas for the elimination of hepatitis in the country,” the Health’s National Program Director said.
Testing for hepatitis is done at NRH and most provincial laboratories.
Today’s celebration is the first time that the Solomon Islands celebrated World Hepatitis Day.
by Sharon Nanau