Cross River, Edo step up sensitisation on World Hepatitis Day
As the world marks Hepatitis Day, Cross River State government has taken sensitisation to major markets, including the popular Watt Market, in Calabar, targeting 5,000 residents.
The state government, through the Ministry of Health, yesterday, commenced week-long hepatitis testing and vaccination with the theme, “Bringing Hepatitis Care Closer to you.”
Speaking during the sensitisation of market women and men, the Director General, Cross River State Primary Healthcare Development Agency (CRSPHDA), Dr. Janet Ekpenyong, urged them to go for testing and vaccination.
She warned that hepatitis is more dangerous than HIV/AIDS because it kills faster.
In an interview with newsmen, the state Programme Coordinator for Human Immune Virus (HIV) and Hepatitis, Mrs. Mary Amah, said the sensitisation would ensure the people how deadly hepatitis could be and ways to prevent it.
She said: “There is also the issue of finance for the treatment of patients because hepatitis is not supported so much, a lot of people pay out of pocket or come in group to buy test kits but the state government is trying so much in giving the vaccines free,” she said.
State Clinical Coordinator for Aids Healthcare Foundation, Dr. Ifeanyi Udenkwo, said 2020 national survey reported that about 19 million Nigerians were infected with various forms of hepatitis.
“There are five types of hepatitis but the most prevalent are A and C because of its ability to cause liver cancer.”
Dr. Mbang Kooffreh-Ada, Consultant Gastroenterologist at the University of Calabar Teaching Hospital, Calabar (UNICAL) said, according to World Health Organisation, Nigeria is in the hepatitis endemic zone.
She urged adults, especially pregnant women, to take the vaccine to avoid mother-to-child transmission.
SIMILARLY, Edo State government, on its part, raised awareness among residents and health professionals on hepatitis.
Edo State Health Commissioner, Prof. Obehi Akoria, said the awareness programme was in line with the World Health Organisation’s (WHO) mandate to bring hepatitis care closer to the primary health facilities and communities so that people have better access to treatment and care, no matter what type of hepatitis they may have.
On the mode of transmission for the disease, Akoria said: “We get Hepatitis B and D infections through unprotected sexual intercourse with someone who is infected, through sharing sharps with people. When we talk about sharps, we’re talking about the indiscriminate use of injections. These include people who patronise patent medicine stores and pharmacies to get injections indiscriminately when we know that the licensing of these facilities do not allow them to give injectables.”