Drug Firm Canvasses Prevention Of Hepatitis | Independent Newspapers Limited
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Drug Firm Canvasses Prevention Of Hepatitis

Posted: Aug 2, 2015 at 12:00 am   /   by   /   comments (0)

By Yinka Shokunbi Lagos

Concerned about the prevalence of Hepatitis virus (HPV) among Nigerians, management of leading local drug manufacturer, Fidson Healthcare Plc, has canvassed for mass preventive action to stem the menace of the deadly virus in the country.

Speaking on the theme for the World Hepatitis Day (WHD), ‘Prevent Hepatitis. Act Now’, marketing manager, Friday Enaholo, observed that the available data on the disease which indicates that about 20m Nigerians are at risk of chronic hepatitis B and C with annual death rate estimated at about 14, 000 out of the global 1.4m deaths as alarming saying, it shows that on the average, one out of every twelve Nigerians is infected with the Hepatitis Virus.

“This data is worrisome and calls for national preventive actions that should involve every Nigerian. Every stakeholder within the health sector and member of the public has a role to play, either in the area of policy formulation, compliance and even as basic as living a healthy and hygienic lifestyle”, said Enaholo.

He advised Nigerians to prevent viral hepatitis infection by getting tested, vaccinated and seeking adequate treatment for the string of hepatitis viruses, known as hepatitis A, B, C, D, and E, which affects hundreds of millions of people worldwide, causing acute and chronic liver diseases.

He described viral hepatitis as an inflammation of the liver caused by one of the five hepatitis viruses: A, B, C, D and E.

These are transmitted through different routes: Hepatitis A and E through contaminated food and water; Hepatitis B – through unsafe blood and other bodily fluids; Hepatitis C – mostly through infectious blood; and Hepatitis D – serving as an additional infection in the presence of Hepatitis B. These viruses all cause acute hepatitis which is characterized by fatigue, loss of appetite, fever and jaundice. Most persons fully recover, but a small proportion of persons can die from acute hepatitis. In addition, hepatitis B and C infections can become chronic leading to cirrhosis and liver cancer.

Enaholo pointed out that a bigger concern is the fact that these diseases are preventable, but most people, especially those living in rural or semi-urban areas of developing countries don’t even know how to prevent them. “This is why as a company, we are actively participating in this global campaign by enlightening Nigerians, through all possible communication channels, on how they can prevent the spread of Hepatitis”.

He therefore urged Nigerians to make deliberate and preventive efforts to steer clear of unsafe blood, unsafe injections, and sharing of drug-injection equipment that can lead to hepatitis infection. He also maintained that safe and effective vaccine are available to protect everyone from hepatitis B and C infections for life.

World Hepatitis Day is celebrated every year on July 28 by WHO and World Hepatitis Alliance. The Global Hepatitis Programme was established in 2011 following a World Health Assembly resolution. The theme for this year’s World Hepatitis Day is “Prevent Hepatitis. Act Now”.