As Nigeria join the rest of the world to commemorate the World Hepatitis Day, 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.
Minister of health, Dr. Osagie Ehanire, in a statement on Tuesday, 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 percent 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.
Dr. 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.”