World Hepatitis Day: Expert harps on regular screening

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A Medical Expert, Dr Abass Ajayi, has advised Nigerians to avail themselves the opportunity of knowing their hepatitis status by going for screening.

He made the call in an interview with the newsmen on Wednesday in Kaduna as part of activities to mark the World Hepatitis Day (WHD) observed each year on July 28 to raise awareness of viral hepatitis.

Viral hepatitis is an inflammation of the liver that causes severe damage and hepatocellular cancer.

He said this year’s theme of the day is “Hepatitis Can’t Wait” with a person dying every 30 seconds from the disease – even in the current COVID-19 crisis – we can’t wait to act on viral hepatitis.

Ajayi added that there were five main strains of the hepatitis virus, namely– A, B, C, D and E.

He noted that “hepatitis B and C is the most common, which results in 1.1 million deaths and three million new infections per year.’’

According to him, the WHD should be an opportunity to increase awareness and encourage political change to jointly felicitate prevention, diagnosis and treatment.

“I urge everyone to use this opportunity to know his/her hepatitis status and also spread the word about treatment.

“Hepatitis is an inflammatory disease of the liver, usually caused by viruses.

“These viruses are called the hepatitis viruses most common types are hepatitis A B and C, B and C are the most dangerous due to the risk of causing long term illness and liver damage and death.’’

Ajayi, who said that vaccines were available and effective, urged residents to avoid sharing sharp objects, unprotected sexual intercourse and avoid contact with body fluids of infected persons as preventive measures.

He added that with united effort, a hepatitis-free future was achievable.