Kampala University introduces compulsory Hepatitis B testing

Kampala University introduces compulsory Hepatitis B testing
A Kampala University student gets vaccinated against Hepatitis B at the Ggaba campus recently. Courtesy Photo

Kampala University (KU) students will have to take compulsory Hepatitis B testing and vaccination before they’re allowed back into the institution for the 2017/2018 second semester.

According to a December 6th notice issued by Moses Nyamurasha, the director Kampala University – Luweero campus, students will only be registered upon presenting an Hepatitis B vaccination certificate.

“There is one week tolerance that will be given to everybody as there will be medical officers doing the testing for freshers around campus for the first two weeks,” reads the notice.

He said those undergoing Hepatitis B treatment will be required to go to the university nurse, adding that their cases will be handled with the highest level of confidentiality.

Hepatitis B is a viral infection that attacks the liver and can cause both acute and chronic disease. It is transmitted through contact with an infected person through blood, semen or other body fluids. It is not yet clear what prompted the university to introduce the compulsory Hepatitis B testing and vaccination for students.

Although the notice is currently pinned at the Luweero campus, sources claim that the policy applies to all Kampala University campuses including the main campus based in Gaba, a Kampala suburb.

A student told this publication on condition of anonymity that the compulsory Hepatitis B testing and vaccination infringes on his health rights, saying he wouldn’t want to test under duress.

“I am telling you the day I test and I find that I am Hepatitis B positive, it’s the same day I will start falling sick,” he said.

Innocent Mutamba, the deputy guild speaker Kampala University told this publication that the directive hasn’t gone down well with students. He says that they sought explanation from the authorities at Luwero campus who told them that it was a directive from ministry of Health that all students must be vaccinated.

“The director told us that government is likely to close our university in case we do not meet the requirement,” said Mutamba.

Gordon Murangira, the personal assistant to the vice chancellor at Makerere University, told this publication he wasn’t aware of the directive from the ministry, but hastened to add that the university management negotiated a deal with the National Medical Stores to supply them Hepatitis B vaccines for students.

On average Hepatitis B testing costs Shs 30,000 in various clinics in Kampala. Each of the three doses, which are administered at different intervals, costs a minimum of Shs 40,000.