As the world marks the 2020 World Hepatitis Day (WHD), the Rivers State Government says an estimated 19 million Nigerians are infected by the disease.
Making this known, yesterday in a radio broadcast in Port Harcourt, the Rivers State Commissioner for Health, Prof Princewill Chike, said the figure was in accordance with the National HIV/AIDS Indicator and Impact Survey (NAIIS) 2018.
According to Chike, “Nigeria bears a huge burden of viral hepatitis with a prevalence of 8.1% for Hepatitis B, and 1.1% for Hepatitis C, translating to an estimated 19million people for Hepatitis B and C, including co-infections of both”.
Noting that both hepatitis B and C are preventable, the commissioner stated that hepatitis B vaccine provides life-long immunity, adding that the vaccine was available in both public and private health facilities in the state.
“While hepatitis B is treatable, there is a cure for hepatitis C”, he said.
Chike, therefore, urged Rivers people to get tested in order to determine their status, saying that “early testing means early and timely treatment can be commenced to prevent complication and save lives”.
He stated further that the Rivers State Government has designated the Rivers State Teaching Hospital as the epicentre for the testing and treatment for hepatitis.
The commissioner further explained that, “the technical working group is also meeting to ramp up efforts towards the elimination of viral hepatitis”.
The state health boss also urged Rivers people to be proactive in the prevention of hepatitis in the state by raising awareness and support in prevention, testing and treatment services.
The WHD is marked yearly on July 28 to raise awareness on the global burden of viral hepatitis towards enhancing its elimination.
Similarly, the Bayelsa State Government, yesterday, marked the year 2020 edition of the World Hepatitis Day with a charge on residents of the state to be vigilant, and support the government’s efforts to eliminate the disease in the state.
Addressing newsmen at a press conference held as part of enlightenment campaign on the dangers of the viral disease in Yenagoa, the state capital, the Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Health, Dr Inodu Apoku, stressed the need for medical checkups by intending couples and partners to ascertain their hepatitis status before and after marriage to avoid transmission to children during delivery.
Apoku lauded the state Governor, Senator Douye Diri, on his support and timely intervention on issues concerning the health and wellbeing of Bayelsans since his assumption of office.
He said that though not much attention has been given to hepatitis by the people, but added that available medical statistics show that about 1.4 million lives were lost to the disease annually.
The permanent secretary, who also doubles as the deputy chairman of the state’s Covid-19 Task Force, hinted that there were five types of the disease, including Hepatitis A, B, C, D and E.
He regretted that of all, Hepatitis B and C were deadliest, affecting over 350 million people globally.
He reiterated government’s commitment towards ensuring that Bayelsans were enlightened continuously on the importance of periodic medical checks, emphasising that Hepatitis B and C were 10 times more prevalent and dangerous than HIV/AIDS.
According to Apoku, Nigeria has one of the highest burden of viral Hepatitis in the world with 11 per cent prevalence of Hepatitis B and 22 per cent prevalence of Hepatitis C, hence the need for the creation of awareness on the disease.
“Nine in every 10 persons infected with viral hepatitis are not aware of their status, and so, the World Hepatitis Day celebration creates an opportunity to educate the general population about the burden of these infections with the aim of enlightening people on how to combat viral hepatitis and empower them to take action to prevent these infections”, he said.
“The World Hepatitis Day is commemorated globally on the 28th day of July each year to create awareness on viral hepatitis and to recommit as well as mobilize the global community on the path of elimination of viral hepatitis by the year 2030”, he added.
“The World Health Organisation (WHO) has tagged this year’s activities: Hepatitis Free Future (Hepfreefuture) with a strong focus on preventing Hepatitis B (HBV), among mothers, and new born through safe and effective vaccination”, Apoku said.
The theme for this year is: “Find The Missing Millions”.
Meanwhile, as Nigeria joined the rest of the world to commemorate the World Hepatitis Day, yesterday, Federal Government said it’s working on modalities that would reduce chronic hepatitis B virus infection to less than 2 percent in children below five years.
The government also disclosed that it has made significant progress in the area of Hepatitis B birth dose vaccination through domestic contribution to financing vaccination and expand access to services.
The Minister of health, Dr. Osagie Ehanire, in a statement, yesterday, to mark the 2020 World Hepatitis Day, said the government has launched the roadmap to set up a state viral hepatitis programme, that would, expectedly, facilitate the realization of the dream.
He said that the essence of the global commemorative day was to raise awareness about the hepatitis, and also stress the need for the people to be cautious to avoid getting infected with the deadly disease.
Ehanire confirmed that Nigeria is endemic for both viral Hepatitis B and C, recalling that, in 2018, Nigeria conducted a National AIDS Indicator and Impact Survey (NAIIS), which indicated a prevalence of 8.1 per cent for Hepatitis B (HBV) and 1.1 percent for Hepatitis C (HCV).
The minister added that the NAIIS survey estimated that about 20 million people are chronically infected, and larger percentage of them are unaware of their status because they have not tested.
Ehanire said that Nigeria recognizes the importance of vaccination as a critical intervention to eliminate HBV infection by 2030, hence the nation was one of the first African countries to introduce a birth dose of HBV vaccine in 2004.
The minister added: “Furthermore, we established the National Viral Hepatitis Control programme in 2013, to coordinate all national efforts and through this, developed national documents, including policies, a strategic plan, guidelines, training materials and a treatment centre directory, which are in use.”
Sogbeba Dokubo & Ariwera Ibibo-Howells, Yenagoa
RSG Alerts On Orchestrated Media Campaign
The Rivers State Government has raised alarm over alleged moves by some critics of the government to use selected media houses in the state to denigrate the state government.
A statement signed by the state Commissioner for Information and Communications, Pastor Paulinus Nsirim, yesterday, reads, “The Rivers State Government is aware of clandestine plans by the All Progressives Congress (APC) in Rivers State to use selected media houses in the state to denigrate the government of Governor Nyesom Wike.
“This is as a result of the intimidating sterling performance of Governor Wike in infrastructure, healthcare, education, agriculture, rural transformation, housing development, administration of justice, social welfare and sports development.
“This orchestrated campaign spearheaded by a defeated and dumped governorship aspirant of the APC, Dr. Dakuku Peterside is designed to portray the government of Governor Wike as one that is not meeting the developmental aspirations of Rivers people.
“However, the uncommon transformation of the 23 local government areas as witnessed during the last six years of projects commissioning and flag off shows clearly that Governor Wike is actually meeting the yearnings of the people.
“The fact that Rivers people that turn out en mass at the various projects sites to heartily welcome their beloved governor and his guests drawn from all political divides is a clear indication that Rivers people can no longer be swayed by cheap politically induced blackmail.
“The truth of the matter is that the APC government that boasted that Governor Wike will not see money to pay workers’ salaries and execute projects has been humbled by the revolution in governance currently witnessed in the state.
“Instead of people like Dr. Dakuku Peterside and his acolytes to eat the humble pie, they are busy looking for cheap popularity through sponsored appearances in the media.
“No matter how hard these detractors push their propaganda, Governor Wike will never be distracted in executing his social contract with the people of Rivers State.
“In the next few weeks, more projects that have direct bearing to the lives of Rivers people will be unveiled.
“Governor Wike’s promise to continue working as if this is his first tenure and not abandon any project remains sacrosanct.
“Rivers people are watching those whose stock in trade is to dance naked and pray that they continue as merchants of mischief, falsehood and baseless allegations.”
“The people of Rivers State love Governor Wike whose outstanding achievements in salvaging the state from the dearth of basic infrastructural development required for speedy socioeconomic transformation has received national and international applause.
“Therefore, no amount of negative propaganda by the failed APC can diminish the legacy of Governor Wike in Rivers State.
“Rather than launder the thoroughly battered image of the APC, such media appearances by Dr. Dakuku Peterside and his cohorts will further expose APC’s penchant for lies and deception which is now a public knowledge.
“The former governor of Rivers State, Dr. Peter Odili, has confirmed that Governor Wike is the best Rivers State has produced.
“’I have been there. And I make bold to say Governor Nyesom Wike, you are the best,’ Dr. Odili said.
“Odili’s comment serves as an answer to those masquerading as informed commentators with puerile and suffocating commentaries”, the statement added.
Bandits In Trouble As Super Tucano Aircraft Arrives
The first batch of A-29 Super Tucano aircraft has arrived in Kano, yesterday, at about 12.34 pm.
The NAF Director of Public Relations and Information, Air Commodore Edward Gabkwet, confirmed the arrival of the fighter aircraft in a statement.
“On hand to receive the aircraft were the Hon. Minister of Defence, Maj-Gen Bashir Magashi (rtd); Chief of Army Staff, Lt-Gen Farouk Yahaya; and Chief of Air Staff, Air Marshal Oladayo Amao”, he said.
We’ve No Patience With Failure, Oyedepo Lashes Out At Sacked Pastors
The General Overseer and Founder of The Living Faith Church International also known as Winners’ Chapel, Bishop David Oyedepo, has reacted to the recent sack of over 40 pastors by the church.
One of the affected Pastors, Peter Godwin, took to social media, claiming they were sacked for not generating enough income.
Godwin, who was in one of the church’s branches in Ekiti State, had claimed, “I was told by the management that the church doesn’t operate at a loss.
“They also told me that the total income that is being generated from my station should be able to cater for my welfare and accommodation, so as a result of low income, I’m hereby dismissed.”
Reacting to the allegation in a video posted on the social media, Oyedepo said the sack of the pastors was not about money, adding that the latter were sacked as a result of their failure and the church “has no patience with failure.
“Money? Nonsense! We have never lacked it, and yet, we have never prayed for it.
“We are just simply obeying God, and He is backing up what He is asking us to do. Awesome God,” he noted.
On those criticising the sack, the GO said, “People are confused about our ministry. I learnt some fellows said, you know, they are not bringing income, that is why they asked them to go”.
He added, “We asked you to go because you are unfruitful. Unfruitful! Blatant failure. Doing what there? We have no patience with failure here.
“When we employed 7,000 people at a time, social media was dead.
“We have more employees in this organisation than most of the states. No one is owed a dime salary and we don’t borrow, we don’t beg. Ask our bank whether we take overdraft.
“We are covenant bound, working in the light of God’s word, enjoying an open Heaven.”
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