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19 Million Nigerians Living With Hepatitis – Health Ministry Says

Saturday, 29 July 2023

National Coordinator of National AIDS and STDs Control Programme (NASCP) of the Federal Ministry of Health, Adebobola Bashorun, says about 19 million Nigerians are currently living with hepatitis.

Bashorun stated this on Friday in Abuja during a briefing organised by the Health Ministry to commemorate this year’s World Hepatitis Day themed “One life, one liver.”

The coordinator noted that only 60 percent of Nigerians know about hepatitis while, lower than 50 percent know their status.

“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.

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

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He disclosed that the Federal Government has also developed a National Strategic Framework for Viral Hepatitis covering 2022 to 2026.

Olufunso Adebiyi, Permanent Secretary in the Federal Ministry of Health, 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.

He said these factors have led to stigmatization, late diagnosis and higher mortality rates.

World Health Organization’s Country Representative (Nigeria), Walter Kazadi Mulombo, said it was time for Nigeria to do something differently in tackling viral hepatitis.

Note that 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.

Nigeria is one of the most affected countries. With an estimated population of over 200 million people, the country has a hepatitis B prevalence rate of 8.1 per cent and hepatitis C of 1.1 per cent, according to the 2018 Nigeria AIDS Indicator and Impact Survey (NAIIS) report.

In 2022, the ministry of health said nearly 20 million Nigerians were infected with viral hepatitis, attributing the high figure to low awareness and stigma.

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via: Information Nigeria

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