Nanay for Healthy Livers para kay Baby advocacy

Earlier today, Zonta Club of Alabang in cooperation with GlaxoSmithKline, Department of Health in Muntinlupa plus other local government offices held their Hepatitis B screening and vaccination activities at Festival Mall Activity Center.
Over 100 expectant women from indigent communities in Muntinlupa, Alabang, Sucat, Cupang and nearby barangays were present to avail of the free services. Hepatitis B leads to liver damage and even death. And liver cancer is a serious silent killer. It is asymptomatic until such time it causes classic symptoms such as abdominal pain and weight loss, but the liver is failing.

The hepatitis B virus reproduces in liver cells, but the virus itself is not the direct cause of damage to the liver. Presence of the virus triggers an immune response from the body as the body tries to eliminate the virus and recover from the infection. This immune response causes inflammation and may seriously injure liver cells. Hepatitis B disease is often considered an adult illness because of the way it is commonly transmitted--via shared needles, transfused blood products and unsafe sex. But it can also infect children at birth or through close contact during childhood with an infected person.

Hence, pregnant women should avail of the hepatitis B vaccine (HBV) to protect their child against the hepatitis B virus. Transmission of hepatitis B from mother to newborn is the most prevalent means of transmission in the Philippines. The hepatitis B rate is very high, and almost all infected infants will develop chronic hepatitis B. Acute hepatitis damages the liver in some rare cases so badly that it can no longer function. Many infected individuals don't know they have it because they don't exhibit any symptom. Those who acquired the disease in childhood are more likely to suffer from long-term health problems such as cirrhosis and liver cancer.

This life-threatening condition affects thousands of Filipinas that Kathleen “Maymay” Liechtenstein, President of Zonta Club of Alabang (ZCA) decided to take it up as one of their women empowerment campaigns. Fortunately, transmission can be significantly reduced through immunoprophylaxis. The advocacy aims to lift the plight of women in Muntinlupa City by supplementing Hepatitis B awareness with talks by experts/specialist in the field.

The recommended number of doses for vaccine is three shots to be administered at birth; between 1 and 2 months; and between 6 and 18 months.  Women screened for hepatitis B during pregnancy who tested positive, should get hepatitis B immune globulin (HBIG) as well as the hepatitis B vaccine for their babies, to provide short-term protection within 12 hours of birth.

About Zonta Club
Zonta International was founded in Buffalo, New York, USA in 1919. The organization has grown into a worldwide service organization of executives in business and the professions working together to advance the status of women over the decades.

Today, there are more than 30,000 members in more than 1,200 clubs in 63 countries all over the world. District 17 serves as an operating arm of Zonta International in Asia, comprising clubs in Hong Kong, Malaysia, Philippines, Singapore and Thailand under its leadership.