…20m Nigerians infected
By Hassan Zaggi
The President, Hepatitis Zero Nigeria Commission and Representative to the Africa Union (AU), Dr. Mike Omotosho, has disclosed that Hepatitis is a silent killer which killed almost 4,000 people on a daily basis.
He further revealed that the kills more than COVID-19.
Speaking at a media briefing to mark the 2020 World Hepatitis day, Dr. Omotosho noted that 500 million people suffer from the disease globally.
“As scary as COVID is, you will not believe that there is a disease that kills more than it. We have a disease call Viral Hepatitis which actually kills more people than COVID-19.
“Did you know that globally, almost 500 million people globally suffer from Hepatitis? Of this number did you that almost 1.4 million people die every year globally.
“And if you break that down, you will realise that almost 4,000 people die on a daily as a result of hepatitis and hepatitis related complications. Indeed, hepatitis is a silent killer.”
He said that there is however, some good news. “Unlike COVID, Hepatitis has vaccine, of all, unlike COVID, Hepatitis has treatment, though not all result in permanent cure.
“What I want to say is that there is succor but a lot of people are not aware.”
While harping on testing, Dr. Omotosho said: “If you truly do not know your status, you will not know what to do. Almost 20 million Nigerians are walking around with the virus but less than 5 million of these people are aware of their status. What this means is that we have almost 20 million people walking around with the virus, infecting others, without knowing.
“Once you know your status, it is either you are negative or positive. If you are positive, you will go for further test and go for treatment. If the person is unfortunate that it is Hepatitis B, luckily HIV facilities and some of these drugs are similar, one can get some of these drugs free of charge, even though it is management.
“However, if it is C, there is some of these drugs that can lead to permanent cure within 90 days.
“If you are lucky to be negative for C, you just decide to be care and avoid sharing needles and avoid anything that will involve exchange of body fluids, especially, if the other person has not been tested.”