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Herbalists provide succour to hepatitis patients as drug prices rise



“Due to the high costs of hepatitis diagnostics and treatment in Nigeria from our recognized health facilities, majority of our patients resort to patronizing wonder healing treatment centers and herbal medicine practitioners, who promise them cure.”

This was the finding of the National Coordinator Civil Society Network on Viral Hepatitis, Danjuma K. Adda, who was of the opinion that the National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS) does not give much priority to hepatitis as compared to Human Immuno-deficiency Virus (HIV)/Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome (AIDS) and other ailments. Believing that If such patients could afford quality health care “in our health facilities, no one would patronize such quacks” who as made known by him in a press statement yesterday made available to The Guardian in Jalingo, Taraba state “are not just exploiting the gullible folks but putting their lives at risk”

The leadership of the Civil Society Network on Viral Hepatitis, nationwide, he said have took it upon itself to embark on Viral Hepatitis Service Availability Mapping (SAM) in the country. This according to him would enable the group ascertain the level of hepatitis coverage the NHIS has included in the scheme adding that “ at the moment the NHIS is covering all HIV/AIDS related diagnostics, including Viral load, so why not viral hepatitis?”

Adda who tenaciously held that the “time has come for us to assert our role as Viral Hepatitis Civil Society and Patients representatives in Nigeria” opined that “health insurance could be the panacea for hepatitis treatment as is obtainable in some disease conditions, but not for viral hepatitis in the country.” Citing recent encounter where an hepatitis patients working with the federal government was compelled to coughed out the sum of N70,000 before assessing treatment in one of the federal medical centers, the group as made known by him, has concluded plans to “engage the NHIS on Hepatitis treatment in Nigeria.”

Stressed that the “above scenario and many more of such across the country depicts the challenges faced by workers and citizens in accessing Hepatitis related treatment on the platform of the NHIS.”

Calling on all the NGOs to join forces with the group to ascertain the actual fact about hepatitis in the scheme, the need for the public to make available to the group relevant information on NHIS hepatitis treatment coverage in the country, he said, can no longer be overwhelmed.

Adding that we are developing a Service Availability Mapping (SAM) tool for Hepatitis treatment in Nigeria, to help us have the exact data and facts about the services NHIS is providing on viral hepatitis across the nation.”

Reiterating the determination of the group to rescue hepatitis patients in the country, the “voice of majority of Hepatitis Patients in Nigeria who cannot afford the cost of treatment and medical care” according to him “must be heard and protected by the authorities and leaders the citizens elected to provide them with such services.”

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Danjuma K. AddaHepatitis
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