By Kelechi Ogunleye
Miss Health Africa, Queen Ivory Chidi, has emphasised the need for proper hepatitis awareness campaign, prevention and vaccination to help curb spread of the virus in the country.
Chidi said this in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on Sunday in Abuja.
She said that it was necessary for Nigerians to get screened for hepatitis, know their status, get vaccinated and treated adequately if infected.
According to her, the theme of 2019 World Hepatitis Day: ‘Finding the Missing Millions’ will help raise proper awareness of the global burden of viral hepatitis and will influence real change in the country.
“It is time to find those infected hepatitis patients by conducting regular free screening nationwide and vaccinated if confirmed negative, treated if confirmed positive with the virus,” she said.
Chidi added that early screening and vaccination were necessary to reduce the mortality rate, especially among youths and adults.
“Because children get vaccinated at birth, the likelihood of them contacting the virus is less.
“This is so because the vaccine lasts for a period of 10 years in the body.
“After 10 years, another three months dosage of the vaccine ought to be administered depending on the vaccination plan,” she said.
The queen described hepatitis as the inflammation of the liver tissue which causes can generally be viral or bacterial infection, heavy alcohol intake or toxins.
She identified the most common and deadliest hepatitis as the one caused by viruses.
She said that Hepatitis B which is caused by virus, with no medical treatment is the common type in
Nigeria amongst the five types of hepatitis; type A, B, C, D, and E.
“Although hepatitis B has no cure, there is a preventive vaccine people can take to help prevent getting infected when in contact with the virus carrier.
“The vaccine is readily available in hospitals worldwide,” she said.
She warned that hepatitis B is highly contagious and real as it is 100 times more infectious than the popular Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) and kills faster.
She added that some mode of transmission included; sex, exposure to infective blood, semen and other body fluids, from infected mothers to infants at child birth, transfusions of contaminated blood.
NAN reports that World Hepatitis Day is observed on July 28 every year to raise global awareness of hepatitis.