I use to hear people tell their stories about how they have received their breakthrough for their health related issues and I marvel. I become so excited and wonder if I would ever meet such a breakthrough.
I wonder if there’s anyone out there who’ll be ready to hear me out, look into my eyes, tap me on the shoulder and tell me: ‘your breakthrough is coming’!
It was on one fateful day in 2007, during my 2nd year education in one of the Nation’s finest tertiary institution, when I decided to voluntarily donate blood to help save the lives of pregnant mothers who get complications during deliveries which results in fetal or maternal demise in one of the Nation’s premiere teaching hospital.
Confidently, I walked into the blood bank to get my blood tested for the transfusion transmissible infections, as part of the requirements for blood donations. Everything was OK, until the lab technician called out my name, told me they cannot let me complete the processes because my blood was ‘incompatible.’
He later handed me a fact sheet on viral hepatitis and requested that I read thoroughly through. I felt so confused and didn’t know what to do. I thought I would be referred to see a physician for counseling but no, nothing. I left the facility feeling disappointed.
Not knowing what to do, i decided to educate myself on the disease. So i went online, read through several articles and documents on hepatitis B and its management. I learnt about the need to avoid alcoholic beverages, habit of smoking, ensuring I always eat a well-balanced diet to boost up my immunity. I did this for close to two years.
Finally, somewhere in 2009, i took another test which revealed that i was in the chronic stage of the infection. Even the health professionals at that facility couldn’t explain what that really meant. I got totally confused and didn’t know if I was going to die or not.
I have been alive just by grace. I say this because, I do not show any sign or symptoms of the infection and this most times gives me hopes. My last medical checkup was in 2010. I had my blood drawn and tested for the Liver Function Test and the HBV Profile test. The results were good.
Life afterwards has been manageable. I live in a community and country where the level of awareness on hepatitis is very low. Majority of the people are ignorant about the situation. I have lost some family members as a result of the disease.
It was through my regular search for more information on my situation when I came across the Hepatitis Foundation of Ghana. I was so much excited and impressed about their work and who they seek to represent. I read several of their work and felt they could help me transform the mindset of the people within my community and the nation as a whole.
I was happy about the swift response with which they responded to my mail and followed up with a call. I am happy about the fact that they were already making plans to celebrate this year’s world hepatitis day in one of the communities closer to mine. And that, they have invited me to come and be part of it.
I no longer feel left alone. I now feel I have someone whom I could call upon for any information or seek clarification concerning my situation. Not only me, but for my community too.
Now I believe their slogan that: “HEPATITIS IS TREATABLE & PREVENTABLE” and this is my message to everyone, especially, to those infected and affected by the disease. I know my story might not be so different from yours, or perhaps, yours might be worse than mine. I want to assure you that, there is always a way out! Seek information from the right source and be responsible for your life.