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Hepatitis: Medical expert calls for more sensitisation, vaccination

Dr Nathaniel Adewole, a gynaecologist, has urged the government and Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) to create more awareness on the prevalence of hepatitis, saying `it…

Dr Nathaniel Adewole, a gynaecologist, has urged the government and Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) to create more awareness on the prevalence of hepatitis, saying `it kills more than HIV/AIDS’.

Adewole, a consultant with the University of Abuja Teaching Hospital, told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Abuja that many people in the country had been infected with the hepatitis virus.

“Hepatitis B causes about 650, 000 deaths worldwide annually, mainly through liver damage and other related issues and it is also estimated that 71 million people have chronic hepatitis C virus infection globally.

“The 2013 report of the Nigerian Journal of Clinical Practice, shows that 10 to 15 per cent of the Nigerian populations are living with hepatitis B or hepatitis C without knowing.

“Sensitisation is very important because hepatitis kills more people than HIV/AIDS.

“Some of the predisposing factors to hepatitis B and C include unscreened blood donation, unprotected sex and use of unsterilised surgical instruments among others’’.

He said some of the ways to prevent the virus infection include vaccination; washing of hands and avoidance of direct contact with blood or fluid among others.

According to Adewole, vaccination is very necessary, as there are no early signs to detect when one is having the virus.

“Initially, one may not see any sign indicating hepatitis, especially hepatitis B at the early stage except when the situation becomes severe that the eyes turn yellow and the urine is dark’’.

“Sometimes, people do not even know that they have hepatitis except when they go for blood screening.

“This is why people should abstain from self-medication and report to hospital whenever there are signs of sickness for proper diagnosis and treatment”.

The World Hepatitis Day is usually celebrated every July 28 annually to raise awareness on the virus. (NAN)

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