Awka – Gov. Willie Obiano has approved Hepatitis screening for an estimated 6.18 million Anambra population, the state Commissioner for Health, Dr Josephat Akabuike, said on Friday.
Akabuike said this during a news briefing to mark the 2017 World Hepatitis Day in Awka.
He said that the screening was already included in the state health insurance scheme and was billed to commence before the end of this fiscal year.
According to him, the screening will be done at all government health facilities across the state.
“Hepatitis is more deadly than HIV/AIDS; therefore; I urge all Anambra residents to regularly embark on medical screening, to ascertain their health status.
“Early detection helps in the cure of the disease.”
He said that the theme of the 2017 World Hepatitis Day which is “Eliminating Hepatitis’’, was apt with the current focus on how to eliminate the disease.
“Statistics show that more than 20 million Nigerians are living with Hepatitis B and the figure is more likely to increase due to the lack of awareness and enlightenment.
“A recent study conducted at the Nnamdi Azikwe University Teaching Hospital, Awka, on some pregnant women, revealed that more than 8.3 per cent of those screened had both Hepatitis B and HIV.”
The commissioner said that the Nigeria Medical Association had appealed to the government to declare an emergency on the treatment of Hepatitis.
He noted that some types of Hepatitis were asymptomatic, making routine screening imperative for early the detection of the disease.
The commissioner advised the people to jettison the notion that any person yellowish eyes already had hepatitis, adding that such a position was erroneous in medical science.
Akabuike, therefore, appealed to the media to step up enlightenment and education of the masses, saying that it would help people to understand the disease and take the necessary precautions.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that World Hepatitis Day (WHD) is celebrated on July 28 every year to raise awareness of the global burden of viral Hepatitis with a view to combating the disease. (NAN)