WHD: 19m Nigerians Living With Hepatitis, RSG Confirms
As the world marks the 2021 World Hepatitis Day, today, the Rivers State Commissioner for Health, Prof Princewill Chike, says an estimated 19million Nigerians are living with Hepatitis B and C undiagnosed.
This number, he said, is part of the over 290million people living with the ailment globally without knowing it, thus making it mandatory for such people to be identified and linked to care.
“Worldwide, over 290million people living with hepatitis are unaware of their status… According to the National HIV/AIDS Indicator and Impact Survey (NAIIS) 2018, our country, Nigeria bears a huge burden of viral hepatitis with a prevalence rate of 8.1% for hepatitis B and 1.1% for hepatitis C.
“This translates to an estimated 19million people for hepatitis B and C, including co-infection of both. Knowledge of viral hepatitis remains low amongst Nigerians despite being a leading infectious cause of death each year.
“As a consequence, most of the estimated 19million Nigerians living with Viral Hepatitis B or C are underdiagnosed.
Chike, who stated this in his broadcast to mark the 2021 World Hepatitis Day in the state, noted that this situation has created the environment for further spread of the ailment.
According to him, it has increased “The likelihood of future transmission to others and placing them at greater risk of severe, even fatal health complications such as liver cirrhosis and liver cancer (hepatocellular carcinoma)”.
The commissioner, however, noted that both hepatitis B and C are preventable through vaccination, which is available in both public and private health facilities in Rivers State.
“Hepatitis B vaccine provides life-long immunity and the vaccination is available in both public and private health facilities in Rivers State. While hepatitis B is treatable, there is cure for hepatitis C”, he said.
He used the opportunity to urge people to get vaccinated early enough to prevent infection, and tested to determine their status.
“Rivers State Government”, he stated, “has functional PCR machines that are calibrated for both hepatitis B, C and HIV, domiciled at the Rivers State University Teaching Hospital which has been designated as the flag ship and apex centre for the testing and treatment of hepatitis”.
The World Hepatitis Day is commemorated yearly on July 28 to raise awareness on the global burden of viral hepatitis, which is an inflammation of the liver.
The commemoration is also aimed at influencing real change towards the elimination of viral hepatitis.
The theme for this year’s World Hepatitis Day is, “Hepatitis Can’t Wait”.
Meanwhile, the World Health Organization (WHO) has said no fewer than three million people become infected every year with the Hepatitis virus.
Every 30 seconds, one person in the world dies of a disease caused by hepatitis.
The United Nations has planned to largely contain the various forms of viral hepatitis by 2030.
But to achieve this, diagnosis and treatment must be improved.
The World Health Organisation (WHO) said this ahead of the World Hepatitis Day, today.
This year, the motto of World Hepatitis Day is, “Hepatitis Can’t Wait’’.
The WHO had called on governments to campaign to get more people tested and treated.
“Hepatitis was an inflammation of the liver that can lead to severe liver disease and cancer.
“There are five different types of viral hepatitis, from A to E.
“They are triggered by viruses that are not related to each other,’’ WHO stated.
The pathogens are transmitted through contaminated food in the case of A and E, or through blood and sexual contact in the case of B and C.
Hepatitis D only developed in people who have hepatitis B.
Hepatitis B and C are the most widespread and one of the main causes of liver cirrhosis and liver cancer.
According to WHO, an estimated 354million people worldwide live with chronic hepatitis B or C.
Three million people become infected every year, and 1.1million people die from it.
Although the diseases can be cured, there is a problem with diagnosis.
According to WHO estimation in 2019, only 21 per cent of people with chronic hepatitis C knew they were infected.
For hepatitis B, it is only 10 per cent of the infected persons knew of their infections.
Because people at high risk of infection, such as some drug users and men who have sex with men, tend to be harder for health services to reach, WHO is advocating the provision of self-tests for hepatitis C.
In a new manual, it recommends how and where such tests can be given and helpers trained to use them.
By: Sogbeba Dokubo
FG Denies Plans To Muzzle Media
The Federal Government, yesterday, in Ilorin, Kwara State, said it has no plan to gag the press even as it advanced reasons behinds its decision to ensure the regulation of the social media in the country.
The Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, said the government’s position on the regulation was in furtherance of national interest which was in line with global best practices.
Mohammed spoke at the opening of a 2-day 2021 edition of the Annual Roundtable on Cultural Orientation (ARTCO) by the National Institute for Cultural Orientation (NICO).
According to the minister, no responsible government will allow enemies of Nigeria use media as a tool to destabilise the nation.
He said the phenomenon of fake news and hate speeches which has dominated the social media space was detrimental to the nation’s peace, security and national cohesion.
He, therefore, appealed to the media to ‘shun sensational reporting and eschew fake news’ to prevent or de-escalate conflicts.
The minister reassured that President Muhammadu Buhari would continue to ensure enabling environment for a robust media practice exists in Nigeria.
He said, “Contrary to insinuation in some quarters, this government has no plans to muzzle the media. It appreciates the media as a strategic partner in our determination to foster the socio-economic and political development of our nation”.
Speaking on the theme of the roundtable, “Culture, Media and Nation Cohesion”, Mohammed said that the neglect of culture and the breakdown of cherished cultural values have contributed largely to the myriad challenges bedevilling our nation today.
He said that urgent and concerted efforts are therefore required for cultural reconstruction and reawakening to achieve the much-desired socio political and economic progress.
“The other dimension of the theme of this conference is the role of the media in fostering national cohesion. The media is an indispensable institution in modern and democratic societies. “As the fourth estate of the realm and watchdog of society with constitutional backing, media has a pivotal role to play in the progress and wellbeing of society”, he said.
Also speaking, the Executive Secretary/CEO of the National Institute for Cultural Orientation (NICO), Mr. Ado Mohammed Yahuza, said the 2021 theme for the programme was selected to reemphasize the significance of culture and the media to socio-political and economic development of the nation.
“We are fully convinced that our present challenges as a nation can be surmounted through a culture rebirth programme with the media playing a leading role.
“The replacement of our cherished cultural values of honesty, hard work, good neighbourliness, respect for elders, respect for constituted authority with negative tendency such as ‘get-rich-quick syndrome’, ethnic and religious bias have been the bane of our national cohesion and development efforts.
“It is our belief that if the media emphasize and celebrate our cherished cultural values and the things that unite us instead of the things that divide us, national unity and cohesion would be easily achieved”, he noted.
Wike Tasks LG Chairmen On Projects’ Execution
The Rivers State Governor, Chief Nyesom Wike, has challenged local government chairmen in the state to embark on development projects in their areas in order to better the lot of their people.
Wike said this while commissioning the Ekeukwu ultra-modern market built by the Chairman of Etche Local Government Area, Dr Obinna Anyanwu at Ulakwo, recently.
The Rivers State Chief Executive expressed happiness that the project would enhance the economic well-being of the people of Etche, and encouraged Anyanwu to continue to deliver quality projects that would touch the lives of Etche people.
The governor, who was represented by the state Chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, Amb Desmond Akawor, said the chairman has set a standard in project implementation that anyone who would succeed him would strive to improve upon.
He accused the APC-led Federal Government of neglecting the state by failing to fulfill any of its promises, and added that in less than six years, his administration has constructed 11 flyover bridges, built roads, schools and hospitals in all parts of the state.
The governor also expressed regret that even the so-called narrow gauge rail line allegedly approved for Rivers State has been cancelled while construction of the one for Maiduguri, Borno State is ongoing.
“For all the promises they made to us, let them tell us which one of them has been fulfilled. I hear even the latest one the Minister of Transport, Rotimi Amaechi gave us; the narrow gauge had been cancelled now, but the one in Maiduguri is working. Rivers people have already sent a message that you have to make sure you complete it before you come back home at the end of your assignment. We cannot tolerate that anymore”, the governor warned.
He also condemned, in strong terms the utterances of one of the sons of Etche, who is the spokesman of the Amaechi faction of the APC, Hon Ogbonna Nwuke, wherein he attempted to downgrade the good efforts of the administration in the execution of quality projects in the state.
“I heard one of your sons who is his spokesman, Hon Ogbonna Nwuke, came out to ask questions about projects. I don’t know what he said about the Okomoko farm. I don’t know what he said about the roads in Etche. I believe Ogbonna Nwuke knows the cost of the Monorail. I believe Ogbonna Nwuke knows what it means to destroy what has been built by our fathers in the state. And with what has happened, instead of him to praise the man God has given to us to do one or two things in the state, his question now is: where is he getting the money from?”, he said.
Underscoring the position of Etche as an important local government area in the state, the governor said that Etche people would always remember him, especially for sitting a campus of the Rivers State University in the area, and urged them to ask their sons in the APC the projects they have been able to attract to the area.
“So, you have every opportunity to ask your sons questions, where you are what have you brought for Etche people. Rotimi Amaechi is good, what did he do for Etche people. Hon Allwell Onyesoh will tell you why he left, that he got tired because he could no longer come to Etche freely”, he said.
While commending the Etche Local Government Chairman, Dr Obinna Anyanwu, for the bold step taken to construct the ultra-modern market, Wike described him as a strong believer in the Wkematics philosophy.
He also lauded the father of the Etche Council Chairman, Chief Emma Anyanwu, and the traditional ruler in the area, for their various supportive roles and advice, and enjoined the youths of the area to remain united and peaceful in order to attract more developments to the area.
In his response, the Chairman of Etche local Government Area, Dr Obinna Anyanwu said that the market was in a state of dilapidation at the inception of his administration.
He said that the reconstruction was considered necessary in order to boost the economic activities in the area and as well, enhance the living condition of the people.
By: King Onunwor
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