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No Hepatitis B vaccine for Health Sciences’ students

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Malawi College of Health Sciences (Lilongwe campus) clinical students are at risk of contracting Hepatitis B because they have not been provided with vaccines for some time now.

“This virus is too dangerous but the college, which is responsible for the provision of the vaccine, is not doing anything about it,” said one of the concerned students who asked for anonymity.

But Malawi College of Health Sciences Executive Director, Tannach Masache, said he was shocked to learn about these issues through the media when there are internal procedures to be followed. He said students know the procedures they are supposed to follow other than going through the media.

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“Students are advised to present their problems to the central office through the deputy registrar (Academic) or the Registrar and the issues will be forwarded to my office. They will be assisted.

“I had a meeting with the Principal this morning (Thursday last week). He says there is a new students’ union at the campus and it was requested to present any issues they have to the campus management.”

“The Principal has informed me that the students sponsored by University Research Council received two doses of Hepatitis B vaccine as per their sponsorship agreement. As for the other students, we discussed with the College Union and the vaccine has been included in the College Budget,” Masache said.

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But Masache did not provide information on the amount of Other Recurrent Transactions funding that the organization gets from government monthly.

Some students who are on government enrolment pay K100, 000 others pay K50, 000 while private students pay K650, 000. MCHS is a statutory corporation.

The World Health Organisation (WHO) says Hepatitis B is a viral infection that attacks the liver and can cause both acute and chronic diseases. The virus is transmitted through contact with the blood or other body fluids of an infected person.

“Hepatitis B is an important occupational hazard for health workers… A vaccine against Hepatitis B has been available since 1982. The vaccine is 95 per cent effective in preventing infection and the development of [the chronic disease] liver cancer due to Hepatitis B,” reads part of the information sourced on WHO’s website on Hepatitis B.

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