KIMIHURURA- Parliament on Tuesday invited specialists from King Faisal Hospital to brief the House on advances in treatment options for Chronic Hepatitis C, an major cause of chronic liver disease in Rwanda.
Under the invitation of the Rwanda Network of Parliamentarians for Population and Development (RPRPD), Dr. Emmanuel Musabeyezu, a Physician and Pulmonologist, and Dr. Emmanuel Rudakemwa, a Radiologist, explained how the hepatitis C virus (HCV) is acquired; its symptoms; diagnosis and treatment.
Musabeyezu told the MPs that hepatitis C causes liver failure, and liver cancer, among others.
He added that the most common risk factors for acquiring hepatitis C are everything involving blood contact from person to person, especially – birth to an infected mother; and even having sex with someone with an infected person.
The doctor noted that infected pregnant women can deliver by caesarean operation to avoid infecting their babies. Tests can be carried out in main referral hospitals in Kigali.
He told MPs that hepatitis B can now be immunised and carries a bigger risk of acquiring cancer than hepatitis C.
Dr. Rudakemwa noted that important equipment needed in the disease’s diagnosis and treatment is lacking but noted that advocacy by lawmakers’ would be welcome.
Lawmakers led by Abbas Mukama, the Deputy Chairperson of the Lower Chamber’s Committee on National Budget and Patrimony, urged the lawmakers to do whatever was necessary to equip hospitals with facilities to detect and treat the disease.
“My question is; don’t we have these machines required to do tests and scans? If we don’t, Honorable members of Parliament, we must find ways to acquire them so as to help Rwandans in general. We are the ones who approve the country’s budget,” Mukama said.
They agreed that the level of funding for awareness and research on Hepatitis should be increased after understanding that the type of the disease prevalent in Rwanda is the most dangerous, yet its treatment is expensive.
Parliament will later use the specialists’ discussion to recommend a way forward in fighting against the disease.
Dr. Jean Damascene Ntawukuliryayo, the Deputy-Speaker of Chamber of Deputies, as well as RPRPD Vice-Chairperson, closed the session by pledging that Parliament would do whatever was necessary – be it a national awareness campaign, or others – to fight the illness.
• Back pain problem explored
Meanwhile, during the same occasion, Prof. Manobhiram Nellutla, a Lecturer in the Department of Physiotherapy at Kigali Health Institute, briefed lawmakers about back pain.
Prof. Nellutla told the lawmakers that back pain, among others, is the most common cause of job-related disability, and a leading contributor to missed work. The expert explained the various back deformities and the causes.