2 March 2018

Cameroon: Time for Consciousness

Besides regular sensitisation, government has in recent times doubled efforts to provide treatment to the liver patient community, especially children as they are increasingly diagnosed.

Today will mark another edition of the Big Yellow Friday. As has been the tradition, every first Friday of March is dedicated to spreading the word about childhood liver disease.

Liver disease has been a health problem in the country in the past, but the surge nowadays in childhood liver disease is what is worrisome. In Cameroon, more children are diagnosed each day with the sickness.

Though health specialists have always agreed that the causes of childhood liver disease are principally unknown, nevertheless life threatening, recent findings show that the phenomenon in Cameroon is caused by some factors.

One of the major causes of childhood liver disease in the country has been identified to be poor feeding habits of children.

Most of the kids do not take balanced diets and natural foods. They prefer going in for liquid stuffs of doubtful quality and other food types which are a menace to the normal functioning of the liver.

In addition, while some health experts suggest that childhood liver disease could be a result of genetic inheritance, a major known cause has been identified to be self-medication. In Cameroon, like in a greater part of sub-Saharan Africa, most patients do not consult physicians when they have an ailment.

They rather opt to treat themselves by taking self-prescribed drugs, oblivious of the fact that everything one eats or drinks, including medicine, passes through the liver. The liver is so fragile and can be damaged if rough-handled.

Despite the causes of childhood liver disease which can partly be attributed to negligence on the part of guardians of children, the government has been living up to its responsibility of providing healthcare. The riposte to the disease has been in multiple folds.

First, government has made vaccines free for all children below five years. Also, there have been regular sensitisations campaigns to raise awareness of liver problems.

Besides making sure patients can obtain treatment in the various health districts across the country, the government has cut down the price of drugs for liver disease to make it affordable. Though not specifically to respond to childhood liver disease, the invitation of Mercy Ship to Cameroon has also been a welcome effort.

The liver is said to work extremely hard, performing hundreds of complex functions. As such, efforts at saving it, like the Big Yellow Friday to raise awareness, falls within context.


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