From Abel Leonard, Lafia
The Nasarawa State Government says about 18,429 residents of the state have tested positive to the viral Hepatitis B and C.
Commissioner for Health, Ahmed Yahaya stated this during a press briefing at the state capital in commemoration of the 2022 World Hepatitis Day.
Yahaya disclosed that a total of 181,946 residents were screened but 18,429 tested positive to the disease, noting that some of the infected persons were presently taking treatment in some government hospitals across the 13 Local Government Areas of the state.
“The World Hepatitis Day is a day set aside by the World Health Organisation to recognize viral Hepatitis as a global Public Health Challenge.
“In Africa, it is estimated that about 15 to 60 per cent of normal population are living with either HBV or HCV, while the national burden for HBV & HCV stands at 8.1 per cent respectively (NATIS. 2018). The Nasarawa state burden stood at about 16 per cent & 13.2 per cent sero-prevalence for HBV & HCV respectively.
“Nasarawa State under the leadership of Governor Abdullahi Sule, in February 2020 expressed commitment to the elimination of Viral Hepatitis through the implementation of a five-year strategic plan with a target of treating 124,000 persons in line with the Nasarawa Economic Development Strategy, targeted at improving human capacity development.
“The state clearly exhibits a disproportionately high prevalence of Hepatitis B & C as compared to the national average. It is the high burden of this dreaded disease in the state that led the state Ministry of Health, with support from Clinton Health Access Initiative, to establish the State’s Viral Hepatitis Control Programme, creating an enabling policy environment to drive access to HBV/HCV diagnostic and treatment services,” he noted.
Yahaya further explained that in order to tackle the virus, the state government has created testing centres across the 13 LGAs for mass community screening, while calling on residents to make themselves available for the screening.