Nigerians have been advised to as a matter of urgency, go for tests to determine their Hepatitis B status as this liver damaging virus is ruthlessly ravaging the Country. Experts have warned that over 20 million Nigerians are currently living with the deadly virus; saying that early detection is the key to solving the problem. This is coming as stakeholders have called on the Federal Government to declare Hepatitis B a health emergency as it did with HIV/AIDS and Ebola.
According to a Consultant Gastroenterologist with the Lagos University Teaching Hospital, Dr. Olufunmilayo Lesi, ”Hepatitis B is very common in Nigeria. The national prevalence is between 10 and 15 percent. That means that about 20 million Nigerians are living with Hepatitis B.This is also very high when you compare it to other countries and the worst part is less than five percent know that they have the disease.” Continuing, she added, ”I run the Hepatitis Clinic in LUTH and I see many young men and women with liver cancer, which is the product of untreated Hepatitis B infection.”
In a detailed Study published by the Nigerian Journal of Clinical Practice, the results stated that, ”the pooled prevalence estimate for Nigeria was 13.6%…. Assuming Nigeria has an estimated population of 160 million people, the overall HBV burden based on our estimates would be 21.760 million sero-positive persons.”
Another research findings reported by Pan African Medical Journal concluded thus: ”Hepatitis B Virus infection is of high endemicity in Nigeria thus early detection, treatment of infected pregnant women, immunoprophylaxis for exposed newborns and surveillance for those with chronic infection is essential. Health education programs on prevention and control measures must be instituted.”
In a Review published by Researchgate and titled, Hepatitis B Infection in Nigeria, the Conclusion stated as follows: ”The high prevalence of 13.3% questions the effectiveness of the Nigerian HBV Vaccination Program. Therefore, there is a need for health promotion awareness campaign to educate the general public on the danger, mode of transmission and the risk factors associated with HBV infection especially among youth population.”
In the same vein, former Head of State, Yakubu Gowon, observed that, ”Hepatitis in Nigeria is a health emergency. Its national prevalence is three times more than that of HIV/AIDS and diabetes. We should fight it as we fought guinea worm, Ebola and as we are fighting polio infections.”
Hepatitis B Virus infection is a deadly disease that can damage your liver. It can cause scaring of the liver, liver cancer, liver failure and early death! Go for test today to know your status. If positive, find a way to immediately get rid of it from your system.