Muhimbili National Hospital (MNH) plans to launch a five-year hepatitis B treatment programme starting from December this year. The programme is to be jointly financed by the Center for Diseases Control and Prevention (CDC) in the US and the MHN. Tanzania becomes the second country to offer the treatment among East Africa Community member countries after Rwanda. The cost of the treatment of hepatitis B treatment will include Sh470,000 for diagnostic and therapeutic evaluations and Sh250,000 for medical care per month during the entire treatment period at the hospital. Speaking at a press conference yesterday MNH Head of Gastroenterology and Hepatology Unit Dr John Lwegasha noted that at least 8 patients out of 100 who visited the national hospital recently were diagnosed to have the hepatitis B complications.
He urged that hepatitis B complications have had contributed to a number of deaths in Tanzania. “In Tanzania, the rate of hepatitis B transmission, which is at 8 per cent exceeds the rate of HIV transmission which is below 6 per cent according to recent data availed by National Bureau of Statistics (NBS). This is to say hepatitis B is responsible for a number of deaths than HIV,” he said. According to data availed by MNH, at least 60 percent of liver cancer patients were diagnosed to have hepatitis B complications. According to Dr Lwegasha at least 10 percent of patients who were diagnosed to have the condition had managed to survive while the remaining 90 percent had died of the disease.