In a recent press briefing held in Lafia to mark the 2023 World Hepatitis Day with the theme “We are not waiting, one life, and one liver,” the Nasarawa State Government revealed that a concerning number of residents have been affected by viral Hepatitis B and C.
According to Dr. Janet Angbazo, the Permanent Secretary of the State Ministry of Health, out of the 229,682 individuals screened, a staggering 23,224 residents tested positive for the disease.
The infected individuals are currently receiving treatment in various government hospitals spread across the 13 Local Government Areas of the state.
She said, “The World Hepatitis Day, is a day set aside by the World Health Organization to recognize viral Hepatitis as a global Public Health Challenge. It is commemorated every year to increase the visibility of the disease and attract more resources for the battle against it, as well as to bring succor to the people affected by the viral Hepatitis.
“I am here today to bring attention to the high burden of Hepatitis B & C in Nasarawa State, which surpasses the national average. Recognizing the urgency of this issue, the Nasarawa State government has committed to a five-year hepatitis B and C elimination plan. This ambitious plan aims to treat approximately 124,000 individuals within the next five years.
“It is the high burden of this dreaded disease in the state that led the state Ministry of Health with support from Clinton Health Access Initiative to establish the State’s Viral Hepatitis Control Program, creating an enabling policy environment to drive access to HBV/HCV diagnostic and treatment services.
“I am delighted to report that significant progress has been made in the fight against Hepatitis in our state. As of now, 97 Healthcare workers have been trained across 17 Healthcare facilities, and we have achieved micro elimination in three facilities in Awe, Keana, and Doma LGAs.
“As the theme for this year’s World Hepatitis Day remind us, “we can’t wait” let us take immediate action to prevent viral hepatitis, know our statuses, and provide timely treatment.”
The permanent secretary further appealed to the general public to make themselves available for the testing of HBV and HCV in government hospitals across the 13 LGAs of the state, and avoid the use of unsterilized sharp objects, sharing of needles/syringes, and the transfusion of unscreened blood/blood products.
“I also want to appeal to all residents of the state to spread the Hepatitis message widely and emphasize on the adoption of preventive measures that will reduce the further spread of the disease,” she added.