smash-b column

The prevalence of chronic Hepatitis B Virus (HBV) in the Vietnamese general population is between 10-15%. Up to 45% of the carriers will develop complications from chronic HBV including cirrhosis and liver cancer. According to recent studies, 90% of the infected individuals do not know that they have the disease. Those who are diagnosed with the disease do not seek medical attention because they neither have any symptoms nor adequate knowledge about the disease. Moreover, healthcare providers do not screen for HBV and are not knowledgeable about the disease and its management. 

From our experience in offering healthcare to the Vietnamese community in Maryland, we realized that due of the lack of access to health insurance and education, many Vietnamese people do not know the danger of Hepatitis B or how to take appropriate action towards preventing or treating this disease. Other significant factors such as the language barrier, poor health-seeking behavior, and culture barriers contribute greatly to the high prevalence of this disease in the Vietnamese
population. 

With the goal to better the health status of the Vietnamese community in the United States and to establish a signature annual program, the Viet Nam Medical Assistance Program (VNMAP) is proposing a Hepatitis B Prevention Program to be executed from Feb. 1st, 2010 until Jan. 31st 2011. This initiative is aimed to increase the awareness of the community in Hepatitis B and HBV through education, screening, and referral for vaccinationand treatment if necessary.

The VNMAP’s Hepatitis B Prevention Program will involve different Vietnamese organizations in the community as well as local businesses and religious organizations. The project is designed with four phases, with each phase consisting of one to two objectives and lasting for three months.

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