LAGOS—Nigerian Medical Association (NMA) has urged the Federal Government to expedite actions in the production of domestic vaccine to effectively limit the spread of viral hepatitis in the country.
President of the association, Dr Osahon Enabulele, made the call in a statement on Sunday, on the occasion of the 2013 World Hepatitis Day.
Enabulele noted that the theme: “This Is Hepatitis, Know It, Confront It” was selected as hepatitis remained largely unknown as a health threat in most parts of the world.
According to him, Hepatitis virus A, B, C, D and E are responsible for acute and chronic infections and inflammation of the liver and can lead to liver cirrhosis and liver cancer.
He said that available statistics showed that about one million people died annually from causes related to viral hepatitis, common among which were liver cirrhosis and liver cancer.
“Indeed, about 20 to 25 per cent of Africa’s population are chronic hepatitis carriers with liver cancer prevalent among affected individuals, with men in the 30 to 45 age group severely affected. It is with almost 100 per cent mortality, as well as great economic and social impact.”
He stressed the need for urgent steps to be taken to limit the spread and called for effective collaboration among relevant stakeholders to ensure availability of vaccines at reduced cost.
Enabulele urged government at all levels to step up public awareness campaigns on Hepatitis and its devastating consequences.