A 24-year-old man suffering from liver disease is appealing to well-wishers to help him get a liver transplant.
Gabriel John was diagnosed with liver disease in 2015 when he was in senior 3.
He said his stomach and foot started swelling which forced him to drop out of school.
He later tested positive for hepatitis C.
Gabriel says all his parents have passed on. He is now living with his grandparents at Hai Kisanga in Yambio town, Western Equatoria State.
His aunt, only identified as Akra is the one fending for the family.
The 24-year-old says he has been advised to have a liver transplant, but there is no money to get the specialized service abroad.
“The doctor told me that I need a liver transplant because of a hepatitis infection,” Gabriel John told Eye Radio.
“Since 2018, every 7 days I have to go to the hospital so that they can suck water from my stomach. They insert the needle with a pipe below my umbilical cord,” he narrates.
Because of his condition, Gabriel says he feels tired and has no energy to do any work.
“The hospital said if there is money, I can be taken for transplant abroad but there is no money,” he said while appealing to well-wishers to help him access the medical service he direly needs.
A liver transplant is the only cure for advanced stages of liver disease. It is done to replace the damaged liver with a whole or partial liver.
However, the process is only available abroad and is expensive.
The medical director of Yambio State Hospital says they are only managing Gabriel’s condition by giving him Albumin to help keep fluid in the bloodstream so it doesn’t leak into other tissues.
Doctor Kumba Victor says the hospital has registered more than 7 cases of liver disease and one of the patients died last year when he was referred to Juba.
Hepatitis infections are common causes of liver disease known as liver cirrhosis.
Initially, patients may experience fatigue, weakness and weight loss.
During later stages, patients may develop jaundice, gastrointestinal bleeding, abdominal swelling and confusion.
Treatments focus on the underlying cause. In advanced cases, a liver transplant may be required.
According to the World Health Organization, hepatitis infections silently harms and kills thousands of Africans every year.
Of the 71 million Africans with chronic viral hepatitis, 300 people die daily from liver cancer and other complications related to hepatitis B and C infections.
In South Sudan, there is no reliable data on the number of hepatitis patients.
But last year, the government launched a National Strategic Plan on Viral Hepatitis and National treatment and care guidelines for Hepatitis.
It aims at ensuring access to safe, affordable and effective prevention, care and treatment services by 2030.
The World Health Organization says hepatitis infection is the most common infection in the first month of life.
This can be prevented with hepatitis B birth-dose vaccination in the first 24 hours of life.
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