AFPMBAI kicks off nationwide anti-Hepatitis B project

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Joint Forces vs Hepatitis B: In keeping with World Hepatitis Day (July 28), the Armed Forces and Police Mutual Benefit Association Inc. (AFPMBAI) launched its Hepatitis Outbreak Prevention & Education (HOPE) Project in partnership with Unilab Foundation at Camp Aguinaldo. The project is considered as the country’s largest immunization campaign against Hepatitis B, the world’s fifth deadliest disease. It will be rolled out in the next few months in other camps all over the country to cover nearly 200,000 members and beneficiaries of AFPMBAI. The ceremony was attended by the top brass of the military forces led by General Emmanuel T. Bautista, Chief of Staff of the Armed Forces of the Philippines AFP (third from left). Seen with him in the photo are (standing from left to right): OIC of the Bureau of Jail Management & Penology (BJMP); Commo. Danilo M. Ubaldo, Commander of Philippine Coast Guard; and Brig. Gen, Ricardo C. Morales (Ret), President & CEO of AFPMBAI.

The top brass of uniformed force of the military, police and allied agencies led the launch and kick-off of H.O.P.E. or Hepatitis Outbreak Prevention and Education Project of the Armed Forces and Police Mutual Benefit Association, Incorporated (AFPMBAI).

The launch, which coincides with the observance of the 6th World Hepatitis Day, was attended by an estimated 3,000 participants.

Among the first to avail of the Hepatitis B screening and shots free of charge were AFPMBAI members based at the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) at Camp Aguinaldo GHQ.

According to Brig. General Ricardo C. Morales, AFP (Ret.) FICD, “H.O.P.E. Project is among the plowback projects that AFPMBAI has been providing its members since 1949 in the areas of healthcare, education, livelihood and general welfare. “

H.O.P.E. Project is under the Vaccination and Immunization Program (VIP) that allows AFPMBAI to protect the men and women of the different branches of service against the highly infectious and deadly Hepatitis B. According to the Hepatology Society of the Philippines (HSP), one out of 8 Filipinos is infected with the Hepatitis B virus. In the Philippines, it is estimated that more than 7.7 million people are chronically infected with Hepatitis B, between 1.1 and 1.9 million of whom are expected to die prematurely due to cirrhosis or liver cancer.

“We are grateful for the support shown by the leaders of the military service and the key government departments as well as our partners. The project will truly benefit the health and well-being of our members allowing them to function as ‘defenders of our nation’ at their best form, free from the debilitating Hepatitis B,” he added.

AFPMBAI has chosen Unilab Foundation to be its partner for the H.O.P.E Project. The Unilab Foundation aims to build a healthier Philippines through meaningful and sustainable programs, working with partners and communities in the spirit of Bayanihan. Recently, the two organizations signed a memorandum of agreement to implement the three-pronged project that will include education, screening and vaccination services for members of AFPMBAI all over the country.

The information dissemination campaign aims to spread awareness regarding Hepatitis B and at the same time, educate people about ways and means to prevent the transmission of the deadly virus. This is followed by appropriate screening and early prevention through vaccination. Booster shots for the Hepatitis B virus will be provided next year.

The World Health Organization has categorized Hepatitis B as among the most chronic diseases. The prevalence rate of Hepatitis B in the Philippines has also been increasing and among the highest in the Asia Pacific region.

Members of the Armed Forces and Police Mutual Benefit Association Inc. (AFPMBAI), a non-stock, non-profit organization, include the Armed Forces of the Philippines, Philippine Army, Philippine Air Force, Philippine Navy, Philippine National Police, Bureau of Fire Protection, Bureau of Jail Management and Penology and Philippine Coast Guards.

H.O.P.E. Project will also be rolled out in the next few months in other military camps and national headquarters all over the country including NOLCOM, SOLCOM, CENTCOM, WestMinCom and EastMinCom. ###

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