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Government Urged To Subsidise Hepatitis Treatment

Posted: Jul 28, 2015 at 9:20 am   /   by   /   comments (0)

Yinka Shokunbi  – Lagos

 

As the world marks another World Hepatitis Day (WHD) today, an appeal has been made to the federal government to seek donor fund intervention to help support the treatment and preventive strategies which are inadequate to meet the magnitude of hepatitis problem in the country.

President, Society for Gastroenterology and Hepatology in Nigeria (SOGHIN) Professor Musa Muhammad Borodo made the appeal in an interview to create awareness on the burden of the disease in the country.

According to Professor Borodo, the burden of hepatitis B and C in the country is rising by the day and is almost at an alarming rate of over 20m people who are having surface antigens capable of developing into the diseases in a matter of time.

Borodo also noted that of 36 states in the country, Kano State by a recent study of the Federal Ministry of Health is potentially the state with the highest burden, “Hence government must immediately take a decisive initiative to create the enabling environment to tackle the burden of this deadly disease,” said Borodo.

Borodo pointed out that unlike malaria which can be treated within three days and the individual recovers, “Hepatitis is not like malaria that is treated for three days and it is over. Treatment of hepatitis is needed for a long time, usually between 48 to 52 weeks depending the drug of treatment and individual’s body immunity.

“Government must therefore ensure the availability of facility to check people, treat them as well as prevent spread of infection in the general public.

“This is so because till date, access to testing and availability of drugs for treatment has remained a big issue as well. And when people go to the hospital, there must be a deliberate policy by government to confirm the presence of the virus and availability of drugs to treat those who would test positive”, said Borodo.

Also speaking to Daily Independent on the theme of the World Hepatitis Day which is: ‘Prevent Hepatitis, Act Now’, Consultant Hepatologist, General Hospital, Ikorodu and Treasurer, SOGHIN, Lagos State, Dr. Aderemi Oluyemi, observed that most of the cases of liver cirrhosis seen in recent times are as a result of long term effect of hepatitis.