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World Hepatitis Day: 23,000 persons test positive to Hepatitis in Nasarawa

By Linus Ogbu, Lafia

No fewer than 23,224 persons have tested positive to hepatitis B and C viruses in Nasarawa State.

The Permanent Secretary, Nasarawa State Ministry of Health, Dr. Janet Angbazo, disclosed this on Monday at a press briefing held in commemoration of the 2023 World Hepatitis Day tagged “We are not waiting, one life, and one liver”, held in Lafia.

According to her, a total of 229,682 individuals were screened and out of the figure, 23,224 persons tested positive to the disease.

Angbazo said it was the high burden of the 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.

She said some of the infected persons were currently receiving medical care at public hospitals across the 13 local government areas of the state.

“The World Hepatitis Day, is a day set aside by the World Health Organization to recognise 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 to bring attention to the high burden of Hepatitis B & C in Nasarawa State, which surpasses the national average.

“Recognising 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,” she said.

The Permanent Secretary, however said significant progress had been made in the fight against Hepatitis in our state, as 97 healthcare workers have been trained across 17 Healthcare facilities.

Angbazo further said that the state has achieved micro elimination in three facilities in Awe, Keana, and Doma LGAs respectively.

“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.

“We have organised various activities, including a press conference, a road-walk has already been held, and radio and TV Health talks and phone-in programs.

Additionally, we will be conducting mass community screenings at designated areas across the state starting with the Ministry of Works, Housing and Transport and others,” she said.

The Permanent Secretary appealed to the public to make themselves available for the testing of HBV and HCV in government hospitals across the 13 LGAs of the state.

Angbazo also urged them to avoid the use of unsterilised sharp objects, sharing of needles/syringes, and the transfusion of unscreened blood/blood products.

She, therefore called on the media to help the state government and its partners in disseminating crucial health information in order to prevent the spread of the disease.

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