NO fewer than 26 million Nigerians are living with Viral Hepatitis B and C, even as stakeholders called for the early diagnosis and treatment of the disease to reduce increasing incidences of liver problems and deaths.
Disclosing this at a free screening exercise jointly organised by Clinton Health Access Initiative, CHAI, and Health Matters Incorporated, HMI, for Otumara Ilaje Community, Ebute Metta, in Lagos, the Programme Director, HMI, Peter Ujomu said: “Hepatitis B does not present symptoms on time, by the time symptoms present, the liver is severely damaged and at that time, treatment may be difficult.
“That is the reason we are going out to sensitise Nigerians about the virus so that those that have it can start treatment before the liver is badly damaged.”
Speaking on the theme of this year’s World Hepatitis Day ‘Finding the Missing Millions’, he said: “We are doing advocacy and public enlightenment campaign on hepatitis B and C and other forms of viral hepatitis to mark the World Hepatitis Day with free screening tagged, “Finding the Missing Millions. This is an opportunity to get them screened to know their status, vaccinated and get treated so that we can get rid of the virus. This is a strategic plan to get rid of the virus by the year 2020.”
Corroborating his views, Representative of CHAI, Mrs. Pelumi Okuyemi said: “There is a vaccine to prevent people from viral hepatitis C and for those tested positive they should visit government hospital to access care.”