As the Lagos State University Teaching Hospital (LASUTH), joins other counterparts across the globe to commemorate the World Haematology Day, Dr. Charles Onyekwere, Head of Gastroenterology and Hepatitis Unit, Department of Medicine at the hospital, has called on all and sundry to take action and raise awareness towards a hepatitis-free future.
Speaking on the theme of 2020 World Hepatitis Day, tagged ‘Find the Missing Millions’, at a webinar held on Monday and organised as part of activities to mark the occasion by LASUTH, he noted that the World Health Organisation (WHO), had set a goal for the elimination of viral hepatitis by 2030 which means that “the number of newly infected persons and related mortality should be decreased by 90% and 65% respectively”.
Onyekwere highlighted some areas in which the elimination programmes should focus on, which include testing, immunisation against Hepatitis B Virus (HBV), preventing mother to child transmission, blood safety and harm reduction.
He, however, averred that the COVID-19 pandemic has greatly stalled efforts to actualise the goals, stressing that health professionals need to intensify efforts on “encouraging the populace to come out en-mass to verify their status and ensure that they are not carriers of the hepatitis A, B or C virus”.
While soliciting for the involvement of the government in ensuring the availability of vaccines and affordable treatment for the disease, the Doctor advised that everyone should be conscious of their health status and closely monitor their wellbeing, stressing that “People should go for regular checkup, take their vaccine doses, and encourage others around them to practice the same habit”.
Recall that the World Hepatitis Day is commemorated each year on 28th of July to enhance awareness on viral hepatitis, an inflammation of the liver that causes a range of health problems, including liver cancer.