4,000 Nigerians die from hepatitis and hepatitis-related ailments annually

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20million and 4million persons are living with chronic Hepatitis B and C respectively in Nigeria

4,000 Nigerians die yearly from hepatitis and hepatitis-related ailments, Director, National AIDS/STI Control Programme, Akudo Ikpeasu, says

According to her, it is estimated that the country has about 18 million people living with hepatitis.

“For hepatitis B, we estimate about 16 million, and for hepatitis C, about 2.2 million.”

She was speaking in Abuja on Monday at a press conference to mark the World Hepatitis Day 2020 with the theme “Hepatitis-Free Future”.

She stressed the need for everyone to be tested for hepatitis and if negative, the person should take vaccine “and if positive, treatment is available all over the country.”

President, Hepatitis Zero Nigerian Commission, Dr Mike Omotosho, says about 500 million people globally suffer from hepatitis out of whom 1.4 million die annually.

“Nigeria is one of the countries with the highest burden of viral hepatitis with a working prevalence of 11% of Hepatitis B and 2.2% of Hepatitis C, implying that over 20million and 4million persons are living with chronic Hepatitis B and C respectively.

He urged the government to pick a leave from Taiwan and Egypt experiences who through proper funding have been able to surmount the menace of Hepatitis B and C respectively. “Egypt has villages that were ravaged by Hepatitis C, but that are now declared Hepatitis C free.

Taiwan had virtually the highest prevalence of liver cancer from Hepatitis B, but through immunization, they have reduced this to very low levels. So the problems are not insurmountable. Other countries have done very well; we too can do as well.

It is political will, finances and enlightenment that we need to tackle the challenges,” he added. Malu was optimistic that with N165billion worth of drugs, Hepatitis C could be eliminated from the country.

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