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19 million Nigerians living with hepatitis – FG

About 19 million Nigerians are currently living with hepatitis, the National Coordinator of National AIDS and STDs Control Programme (NASCP) of the federal ministry of…

About 19 million Nigerians are currently living with hepatitis, the National Coordinator of National AIDS and STDs Control Programme (NASCP) of the federal ministry of health, Dr Adebobola Bashorun, has said.

He stated this Friday in Abuja during a briefing organised by the Federal Ministry of Health to commemorate this year’s World Hepatitis Day. The theme of this year’s commemoration is “One life, one liver.”

Hepatitis is a disease that causes an inflammation or damage of the tissues of the liver. The five types of viral hepatitis are A, B, C, D and E.

Bashorun said only 60 percent of Nigerians know about hepatitis while, lower than 50 per cent know their status.

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He said, “That is why we are trying to create awareness and demand for testing. So, apart from getting information about hepatitis you should also know your own hepatitis status.”

He said hepatitis vaccine is in the routine immunisation schedule for children, adding that there is vaccination to prevent hepatitis B in adults.

He said the federal government has also developed a National Strategic Framework for Viral Hepatitis covering 2022 to 2026.

The Permanent Secretary in the Federal Ministry of Health, Dr Olufunso Adebiyi, said viral hepatitis, especially hepatitis B and hepatitis C, remain major public health risks with person-to-person transmission fuelled by limited knowledge among health care providers in addition to the low awareness amongst the general population.

Represented by the Director of Public Health, Dr Morenike Alex-Okoh, he said these factors have led to stigmatization, late diagnosis and higher mortality rates.

WHO Nigeria Country Representative, Dr Walter Kazadi Mulombo, said it was time for Nigeria to do something differently in tackling viral hepatitis.

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