It’s World Hepatitis Day

It’s World Hepatitis Day

  • Nassarawa records high prevalence as 18,000 test positive

  • Lagos holds awareness walk, tasks residents on screening as government restates commitment to reduction and elimination

  • Affects more than 90 million people in Africa with 125,000 deaths recorded annually says WHO

Lagos State health officials at the 2022 World Hepatitis Day walk

Nigeria joined the rest of the world today to mark the 2022 World Hepatits Day amid report by the World health Organization (WHO) that more than 90 million Africans live with hepatitis with 125,000 deaths recorded in the continent every year.

Nassarawa State was revealed as one of the states with a high prevalence of the disease in Nigeria, following the announcement by the state’s Ministry of Health  that no fewer than 18, 429 persons out of the 181,946 persons screened for hepatitis B and C have tested positive. 

Speaking today after an awareness walk around Alausa-Ikeja community to commemorate the Day in Lagos, the Permanent Secretary Ministry of Health, Dr. Olusegun Ogboye noted the determination of the State Government to align with the T.H.E.M.E.S. goal targeted at improving the prevention, control and management of diseases.

In his words; “Lagos State Government is determined more than ever to bring this scourge of Hepatitis to an end by providing free Hepatitis awareness, screening and vaccination program which aligns with the State T.H.E.M.E.S. goal targeted at improving the prevention, control and management of diseases while reducing the incidence and impact of public health emergencies”.

Explaining that Hepatitis is an infection of the liver which causes liver inflammation and damage, Ogboye said that the commitment of the present administration of Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu towards prevention, care and treatment of Viral Hepatitis in Lagos has been great through both political and financial supports with the sole aim of improving the overall health indices of Lagosians and ensuring a universal health coverage, built on sustainable primary health care system.

The Permanent Secretary explained that the theme of the Year 2022 World Hepatitis Day commemoration, ‘Bringing Hepatitis care closer to you’, connotes that Hepatitis is a killer disease that waits for no one adding that it is a reminder of the urgency to end Hepatitis by “bringing Hepatitis care closer to citizens through awareness, prevention, diagnosis and treatment.

“The theme is also reminding us of the commitment to eliminate Viral Hepatitis as a public health menace by reducing its incidence and mortality rates by 95% and 65% respectively by year 2030 which is achievable”, he said.

Ogboye noted that the State Government through the Ministry of Health has demonstrated a health approach to management of Hepatitis across the cascade of screening, diagnostics and treatment including; free screening of patients using WHO-prequalified rapid test kits for Hepatitis B and C.

According to him, screening, vaccination and treatment for Hepatitis B and C presently take place in the various outpatient departments of the State healthcare facilities such as the medical outpatients, ante-natal, surgical outpatient, paediatrics units amongst others.

“In addition, screening is done for blood and blood products that are utilized for blood transfusion and these are coordinated and regulated by the Lagos State Blood Transfusion Services (LSBTS) to ensure blood safety”, the Permanent Secretary said.

Ogboye who received his second jab of the hepatitis vaccine immediately after the awareness walk at the Folarin Coker Staff Clinic, Alausa-Ikeja, venue of the free hepatitis screening, urged residents to present themselves for hepatitis screening, treatment and vaccination in order to help prevention, early detection and management.

 “Hepatitis vaccine is available in our general hospitals and you need to take three doses. The other thing is to also notice quickly when you have hepatitis. Yellow eyes, persistent fatigue are some of the signs and symptoms of hepatitis. So let’s take advantage of the screening and vaccines that are available in our health facilities” He said.

Speaking in the same vein, the Director, Disease Control, Dr. Rotimi Agbolagorite stated that the fight against hepatitis requires the cooperation and support of all citizens. He added that the State government will continue to engage relevant stakeholders and citizens in the prevention and control of the disease whilst also implementing right strategies to eliminate the scourge of infections in the State.

Dr. Agbolagoriite stated further that beyond World Hepatitis day celebration, the State Ministry of Health has been constantly  conducting community awareness sensitization to the members of the communities so as to get basic information as to where and when to seek medical intervention against the deadly disease.

“Lagos State Ministry of Health routinely conducts community awareness, enlghtenment and sensitization campaigns to raise the level of education of the people on hepatitis prevention, control and management. We believe this will help reduce the scourge of hepatitis and accelerate the quest toeliminate the disease”, he said.

Meanwhile the Nassarawa State  Commissioner of health, Pharmacist Ahmed Baba Yahaya said Nasarawa State has a high prevalence of the disease as compared to the National average.

According to the the high burden of the people living with the dreaded disease the state government with support from Clinton health Access Initiative established the state viral hepatitis control programme, create enable policy environment to drive access to HBV/ HCV diagnostic and treatment services in the state.

The Commissioner said, the state government has ambitious target of treating not fewer than 124,000 persons with hepatitis disease in the state within five years.

He said, Nasarawa State burden of the hepatitis disease stood at about 16 percent and 13.2 percent sero-prevalence has clearly exhibited a disproportionately high preference of hepatitis B and C as compared to the national average.

“It is the high burden of this dreaded disease in the state that led the Nasarawa State Ministry of Health with support from Clinton Health Initiative established the State’s Viral Hepatitis Control Programme (SVHCP) creating an enabling policy environment to drive access to HBV/HCV di

agnostic and treatment services,” Yahaya explained.

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