A demograph of 20 million Nigerians are believed to be on the hepatitis death list, contributing to the chronic viral hepatitis infection.
The commissioner for health in Anambra State, Dr. Vincent Okpala, gave the figure when members of the Rotary Club, Akwa, paid him a courtesy call in commemoration of this year’s Hepatitis Day.
He described Hepatitis C as 10 times more infectious than HIV and having no vaccine, and the most disturbing aspect of the disease is that most people live it with it for years without knowing.
In his statement, Nigeria has a prevalence rate of 11% and 2.2% for viral Hepatitis B and C respectively and are at the risk of developing chronic complications like cirrhosis and liver cell cancers.
Dr. Vincent also stated other means of contracting the disease, through birth from a Hepatitis B-infected mother, sexual contact with a Hepatitis B-infected person, sharing needles, syringes or drug paraphernalia and tattooing.
He commended the Rotary Club for its role in reducing diseases in society, and that the fight against hepatitis is everyone’s responsibility.
Dr. Vincent stated that he would collaborate with the club in conducting free screening for civil servants and traders at the Bridge Head Drug Market in Onitsha