Hepatitis Prevention And Control: Lagos Tasks Residents On Testing, Vaccination And Treatment

….Commemorates World Hepatitis Day with a Public Symposium 

Lagos State Government has once again appealed to citizens to prioritize presenting themselves for testing, vaccination and treatment against viral hepatitis, in order to prevent and eliminate the devastating consequences of the viral disease.

Permanent Secretary, Lagos State Ministry of Health, Dr. Olusegun Ogboye who made this appeal recently at a Public Symposium organized by the State Ministry of Health to commemorate the Y2023 World Hepatitis Day in Lagos, noted that citizen’s commitment is important in the effort to prevent and eliminate disease in line with the 2030 WHO strategic target of reducing new hepatitis infection by 90 percent and deaths by 65 percent.

Ogboye explained that hepatitis is an infection of the liver that causes liver inflammation. He added that the disease is regarded as one of the deadliest infectious and killer diseases accounting for the deaths of over 1.4 million people every year.

In his words: “Globally Hepatitis remains one of the deadliest infectious and killer diseases which accounts for the death of over 1 .4 million people every year. One in every 12 persons worldwide is living with infection”.

Ogboye stated further that the Y2023 World Hepatitis Day Celebration, themed: “One Life, One Liver” is well thought out adding that the State government has been putting in place strategies geared towards preventive care, increased awareness and treatment of the disease in Lagos State.

“We are taking significant steps to mitigate the effect of hepatitis through our viral hepatitis prevention and control program which was launched in 2016. Through  this programme, we have rolled out capacity building and training for over 100 health workers selected across secondary and tertiary facilities in the state in addition to the screening and vaccination of health workers”, He said.

The Permanent Secretary noted that the fight against the hepatitis is a collective responsibility of all citizens, stressing that residents should take advantage of the strategies put in place by the State Government for the prevention and control of hepatitis, and present themselves for screening, testing, treatment and vaccination, in order to help government achieve its prevention, early detection and management strategy against the disease.

“Today is a reminder of the urgency to end Hepatitis as a public health menace, especially through increased awareness, prevention, diagnosis and improving access to care and treatment. Residents are encouraged to present themselves for hepatitis screening, treatment and vaccination in order to help prevention, early detection and management”, He said.

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

Ogboye commended stakeholders for supporting the State Government in the fight against hepatitis, adding that 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.

Earlier, the State Viral Hepatitis Control Program Coordinator, Dr. Mazeedat Erinosho, explained that beyond the World Hepatitis day celebration, the State Ministry of Health has been constantly conducting community awareness sensitization in communities on the need for citizens to key into government’s prevention and control strategies including providing basic information on where and when to seek medical intervention against the deadly disease.

“One of the key things that the Lagos State Ministry of Health with the support of the World Health Organization and other partners is doing is so to create a synergy and ensure heightened awareness first among the health care workers and health professionals, and the public in order to ensure that basic knowledge about viral hepatitis permeates the public space”, She said.

Erinosho explained further that the fight against hepatitis requires the cooperation and support of all citizens as all individuals must seek to know their status and seek help immediately if needed stressing that this will go a long way in the prevention and elimination of the disease.

Dr. Anomneze , a Consultant Physician, Gastroenterologist and Hematologist who was the guest speaker at the symposium stated that Chronic viral hepatitis is a major global health problem with more than 400 million patients chronically infected, causing over 1.4 million deaths per year.

Anomeneze stated further that Nigeria is one of the countries with a high burden of chronic viral Hepatitis with prevalence rates of 8.1% and 1.1% for Hepatitis B (HBV) Virus and C (HCV) respectively adding that about 20 million Nigerians are currently living with chronic viral hepatitis.

He explained that effective medications are available for the treatment of chronic Hepatitis B just as they are available for other common chronic disorders such as hypertension and diabetics if they are diagnosed early.

“Effective medications are available for the treatment of chronic hepatitis B just as they are available for other common chronic disorders such as hypertension and diabetes so with early diagnosis and long term treatment, survival to old age is possible”.

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