Hepatitis B-related deaths spike in Torit

Hepatitis B-related deaths spike in Torit

The medical director of Torit hospital, Dr John Isaac, has raised concerns over the surging cases of hepatitis B in Eastern Equatoria State.

Dr Isaac said the disease was responsible for the cause of deaths in the state, adding that most patients who seek treatment at the hospital are often diagnosed with hepatitis B.

“Hepatitis is getting common here [in Torit], but we don’t have clear statistics about it. If you go to the ward, you will not miss finding a case of hepatitis, either with the complications or without complications,” Dr Isaac said.

He stated that the hospital records two Hepatitis B-related deaths each month.

Hepatitis is a viral disease that attacks the liver through eating or drinking contaminated food and water, which later causes tiredness and jaundice in patients who eventually develop complications such as liver cancer, leading to death.

Dr Isaac said most of the patients who have succumbed to the disease in Torit were cases of late diagnosis.

“Most of the time when they come here, they come when it is late when they have already developed complications. This is the main cause of mortality, ” he added.

Bentiu has been one of the areas in South Sudan experiencing a growing surge of hepatitis cases. In August this year, the National Ministry of Health reported two deaths as a result of hepatitis E among internally displaced persons (IDPs) in Unity State.

Saddening statistics

According to the national Ministry of Health, hepatitis cases increased by 147 in 2019, a 113 per cent rise, while in 2020 they increased by 219, an increment of 79 per cent.

In September 2020, South Sudan’s government launched the first-ever national strategic plan on viral hepatitis and national treatment and care guidelines for the virus.

According to the World Health Organisation (WHO), the virus has been silently harming and killing thousands of people in Africa every year, with at least 300 out of 71 million infected with either hepatitis B or C dying daily.

According to a WASH assessment conducted by MSF in April of this year, the number of latrines in the settlements has been reduced by nearly half, to 2,564.

The current IDP population of 131, 602 has access to improved latrines stands at 50 individuals per 20 people.