By Blessing Odega,
Jos – Plateau recorded 7,300 cases of Hepatitis B and C with 16 people killed by the disease in 2018, the Permanent Secretary in the state’s ministry of health, Dr Polycarp Azzuwut, announced in Jos on Monday.
Azzuwut made the disclosure at a news conference to mark the 2019 World Hepatitis Day.
He said the state recorded 6,909 cases of Hepatitis B virus with 14 deaths and 432 cases of Hepatitis C with two deaths.
Azzuwut noted that Hepatitis B and C prevalence rates which were 11 per cent and 2.2 per cent, respectively were higher than the 1.4 prevalence rate of HIV.
The commissioner lamented that in spite of the fact that the disease was preventable via vaccination and some precautionary measures, the disease was still on the rise, especially in rural areas.
Azzuwut said that Hepatitis B vaccination for children was free of charge to parents and guardians, advising parents to bring their children and wards for vaccination.
He said that the Plateau government was working to ensure that screening, vaccination and treatment of the disease were carried out free of charge.
The commissioner called on the public to imbibe the act of maintaining good personal hygiene, inculcating the act of hand washing and having protected sex.
Azzuwut said the disease was fast spreading through poor hygiene and having sexual intercourse with an infected person.
He called on members of the public to avail themselves of the screening exercise to ascertain their status.
Azzuwut cautioned members of the public, who had been screened as having the disease to desist from patronising traditional health centres.
According to him, most patients who visited such centres usually developed more complications, detrimental to the liver.
The theme for this year’s celebrations is: “Find the Missing Millions”.