By Oko Ebuka & Abigail Ezenwafor
THE Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency, NIMASA has expressed concern over the rise in the number of seafarers suffering from Hepatitis B virus.
Speaking at a one day sensitatisation workshop organised NIMASA, to mark the world hepatitis day, Medical Manager of GlaxoSmithKline on Vaccines, Dr. Temitayo Olowookere, disclosed that over 1.5 million Nigerians are ignorantly suffering from Hepatitis B virus.
He noted that between 10 to 13 percent of Nigerians population is suffering from Hepatitis A and B.
He said that Hepatitis which is an inflammation of liver can be contacted through infections such as unprot
ected sexual intercourse with an infected partner, blood transfusion, mother to child transmission, sharing of contaminated sharp objects, which should be avoided.
In his words, “Ten to thirteen percent of the Nigerian population is suffering from Hepatitis A and B, especially Hepatitis B which is the commonest virus that is easily preventable by vaccines”
Olowookere’s paper titled “Eliminate Hepatitis: Find the missing millions” for Maritime stakeholders on the dangers and preventions of hepatitis, disclosed that millions of Nigerians are ignorantly suffering from Hepatitis that is seriously spreading more than HIV/AIDS, which if not treated during its acute stage, will become chronic, cause cancer of the liver, and can eventually lead to dea
He noted that the only way to prevent it is to start taking the vaccines and other medical information serious.
Earlier in his remarks, Director General of NIMASA, Dr. Dakuku Petersider, stressed the need for the enlightenment campaign aimed at educating seafarers, maritime agencies and the general public on the danger of the virus.