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2022 World Hepatitis Day: CFHI Screens Kagini Residents

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World Hepatitis Day

As Nigeria joins the rest of the world to mark the 2022 World Hepatitis Day today (July 28,2022), the Centre for Family Health Initiative (CFHI) has screened 100 residents at Kagini Primary Healthcare Centre of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT).

The exercise saw 95 people test negative to the virus while five residents tested positive for hepatitis. 

A CFHI representative, Mrs. Odunayo Adegbite said that the free medical outreach to Kagini was part of activities to commemorate this year’s World Hepatitis Day, themed “Hepatitis Can’t-Wait”, reflecting the urgency the situation requires.

Hepatitis is a serious public health concern. Unfortunately, the stigma surrounding the disease makes misinformation rampant. 

Hepatitis affects millions of people worldwide each year. 

The five most common forms of viral hepatitis are A, B, C, D, and E. Recently, the hepatitis G virus was identified. Hepatitis A and E are transmitted through contaminated food, water, poor hygiene and close contact with carriers of the virus. Hepatitis B, C and D are transmitted through blood, sexual intercourse, bodily fluids, kissing, sharing syringes and blades, and touching wounds of infected persons.

Hepatitis G being the newly discovered viral hepatitis’ route of transmission is no different from that of B, C and D. Studies revealed that hepatitis A and E are acute; last for a short time – less than six months – and hepatitis B, C, D and G may progress to chronicity; more than six months.

Symptoms of viral hepatitis start from the absence of symptoms (asymptotic) to mild or moderate features such as jaundice, yellowish discolouration of the skin and eyes, poor appetite, malaise and progressing to chronic liver failure.

Adegbite said that the risk factors and transmission modes of hepatitis types A, B, C, D and E include the ingestion of contaminated food or water, unsafe contact with infected body fluids, receipt of contaminated blood or blood products, mother-child transmission and sexual contact. 

She urged pregnant women to be mindful of the level of unsaturated fat they consume to prevent liver damage and emphasised the need to raise more awareness about hepatitis across the country. 

 She advised patients to ensure that all their immediate family members were screened for the disease. 

Adegbite advocated for abstinence from alcohol ingestion, smoking and herbal concoctions as a preventive measure.  

Health workers at the PHC also educated the residents on the danger attached to the disease. 

They emphasised the importance of testing and knowing their status and, also, the prevention of mother-child hepatitis transmission. 

Some of the side events were testing, talk sessions and counsellors engaged in counselling women concerning their various test results. 

The same programme modality was carried out at the chief’s palace which had in attendance men, women adolescents and children. 

Meanwhile, the Federal Government has also raised the alarm that the country contributes significantly to the burden of chronic viral hepatitis infection globally, with a prevalence rate of 11 per cent and 2.2 per cent for viral hepatitis B and C, respectively. 

As a result, over 20 million Nigerians live with viral hepatitis B or C. Worse, they may be unaware and at risk of developing chronic complications like liver cirrhosis and primary liver cell cancers.  

World Hepatitis Day is commemorated annually, with every July 28, 2022 globally recognised as World Hepatitis Day. This year’s theme is “Bringing hepatitis care closer to you”. The idea of the theme is to focus on raising awareness of the need to make hepatitis care more accessible.

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