Nigeria has been listed among countries with the highest burden of viral hepatitis with a prevalence rate of 11% of hepatitis B and 2.2% of hepatitis C.
While about 21 million people are presently living with hepatitis in Nigeria.
The Director, National AIDS/STI Control Programme (NASCP), Dr Akudo Ikpeasu made this known in Abuja,at a media briefing as part of activities lined up to mark this year’s World Hepatitis Day.
She noted that about 4000 Nigerians die on a daily basis from hepatitis related ailments.
“Viral hepatitis is a silent killer and it is now globally known to be 10 times more widespread than HIV/AIDS, hence the decentralisation of its treatment in order to control it.”
‘’For Hepatitis B, we estimate about 16million and for Hepatitis C about 2.2million. This is a cause of great concern for us. In 2014, the WHO raised awareness and put hepatitis on the map as one of the big public health issue.”
“Hepatitis B and C are inflammatory conditions of the liver caused by hepatitis B and C virus. The disease is characterized by an acute or chronic infection of the liver ranging in severity from a mild infection lasting a few weeks to a serious lifelong infection.”she said.
According to her,” Nigeria as a country has instituted a national program. That program is domicile in the National Aids and STI programs and in the ministry of health and that program aims to drive Nigeria response as a country for hepatitis. “
Also speaking the president, Hepatitis Zero Nigeria Commission and representative to the African Union, Dr Mike Omotosho said for Nigeria to eliminate hepatitis as contained in the SDGs, it would require enduring innovation, better access to medicines and improved health services amongst others.
‘’Eliminating hepatitis by 2030 as contained in the SDGs will require enduring innovations, better access to medicines, and improved health services.”
” The WHO new recommendation is that everybody should have access to hepatitis C testing and curative treatment and also global health community should come together to officially begin moving towards the elimination of viral hepatitis by 2030’’, he added.