The Minister of Health, Prof. Isaac Adewole last week reiterated the commitment of Federal Government towards the elimination of viral hepatitis in Nigeria by 2021.The Minister made this known at a briefing to commemorate the 2017 World Hepatitis Day with the theme “Eliminate Hepatitis”, which was held in Abuja.
Prof. Adewole noted that the First Global Health Sector Strategy on viral hepatitis for 2016-2021, was approved during the 69th World Health Assembly in 2016, adding that there was need for all stakeholders to take proactive steps of knowing their status by getting tested and finally seek for treatment to reduce needless deaths from this preventable and treatable infection. He informed that the viral hepatitis was the seventh leading cause of death globally, adding that the disease was a silent killer and responsible for about 1.44 million deaths annually. The Minister added that without appropriate diagnosis and treatment, around one- third of those chronically infected with viral hepatitis would die as a result of serious liver diseases, including cirrhosis, liver cell cancer and liver failure.
He pointed out that with appropriate treatment of hepatitis B and C, it would prevent the development of major life- threatening complications of chronic liver disease of cirrhosis and liver cancer,adding that with the emergence of new antiviral drugs over 95% of the people with hepatitis can be completely cured of the virus within 3-6 mon6ths.
He also commended the Nigeria Ambassador for Hepatitis Control, Gowon General. Yakubu, (rtd), the royal Ambassador, the Ooni of Ife, WHO, Roche Pharmaceuticals Ltd, Clinton Health Access Initiative (CHAI) and other partners for supporting the fight against the scourge of viral hepatitis in Nigeria.Earlier in his goodwill message, the Nigeria Ambassador for Hepatitis Control, General Yakubu Gowon, (rtd), who was represented by Dr. Adeniyi Ajayi, said the Yakubu Gowon Foundation would continue to provide support for the cause of viral hepatitis in Nigeria, adding that there was need for Government and other Developmental Partners to create more awareness for the fight against Hepatitis.