C’RIVER FLAG OFF 2020 HEPATITIS FREE SCREENING AND VACCINATION EXERCISE

Cross River State Government on Sunday flag off 2020 World Hepatitis Week at Presbyterian Church of Nigeria, Hope Waddell Parish, Calabar. The Cross River State Governor, Senator Prof Ben Ayade who was represented by Commissioner for Health, Dr Betta Edu declared open the week long screening and Vaccination exercise. And the team got the blessings and prayers of the church while hundreds of Cross Riverians got Screened and vaccinated at same venue. The exercise is presently on going at the ministry of health Head quarters and other selected General Hospital in the state.

The Ministry of Health disclosed that Hepatitis is an infectious disease of the liver, which causes an inflammation of the cells of the liver and the entire liver which can lead to liver failure, liver cancer and death.

She said the disease which can lead to both acute and chronic stages of liver disease kills 100 times faster than HIV/AIDS and currently affects 1 out 10 persons worldwide with over 500 million individuals with chronic infection.

According to her Hepatitis is responsible for over 2 out of 3 liver diseases and over 60% kidney diseases cases as one out of three individuals worldwide has been exposed to one form of hepatitis accounting for over 2 billion out of 7.1 billion of the world population.

Edu said Cross River state is not an exception with donor support lacking in this area. She noted that patients’ treatment strongly depends on out of pocket expenditure for services across the treatment cascade.

The Commissioner who took her time to discuss about the diseases noted that Hepatitis is divided into non-viral, viral or auto-immune hepatitis.

According to her non viral hepatitis is caused by other things that are not virus infected but by the lifestyle and individual habits we have lived over time. This includes too much intake of analgesic and personal medications, too much intake of alcohol both in preserved foods and alcoholic drinks (beer), too much Inhalation of toxic substances (insecticides, pesticides etc) while Viral Hepatitis is caused by virus infections transmitted from an infected persons or substances contaminated with blood, body fluid. Viral hepatitis is of various types which includes; Hepatitis A, B, C, D, E and many more. But Nigeria is epidemic to A, B, and C.

“Hepatitis virus can survive for more than 11 days outside the body of its host even if the surface or object is dry. For Hepatitis A: it is caused by the virus A which is transmitted through oral-fecal contamination with infected virus in foods and waters, poor personal hygiene and only leads to acute stages and does not lead to chronic liver stage disease and in most cases goes out and clears out from patient liver and body system when his or her immune system is strong. Hepatitis A is totally curable with medications and also preventable.

“Also Hepatitis B is caused by hepatitis B virus, transmitted via blood and body fluid (semen, virginal discharge, sweet etc) of and infected persons or through contaminated substance in contact with the virus (any substances in contact with an infected persons can transmit the virus). The virus is the most widely spread due to its mode of transmission and the lasting ability of the virus to survive outside the body of infected persons for more than 11 days even if the surface is dry.

She noted that Hepatitis B virus can lead to both acute and chronic stage of liver disease. Most acute and chronic stage of hepatitis B virus is usually asymptomatic (does not show any signs or symptoms). But can show little visiblity which can lead to further damaging of liver (liver chriossis, liver cancer) and death making the virus more deadly. Hepatitis B virus despite being very deadly can be prevented through vaccines and also curable if detected on time. But late detection can be very deadly.

” Hepatitis C is caused by hepatitis C virus, transmitted via blood (semen, virginal discharge, etc) of and infected persons or through contaminated substance in contact with the virus (any substances in contact with an infected person can transmit the virus). The virus is the also widely spread due to its mode of transmission and the lasting ability of the virus to survive outside the body of infected persons for more than 11 days even if the surface is dry and can lead to both acute and chronic stage of liver disease. Most acute and chronic stage of hepatitis C virus is usually asymptomatic (does not show any signs or symptoms). But can show little visibility which can lead to further damaging of liver (liver chriosis, liver cancer) and death making the virus more deadly. Hepatitis C virus is totally curable if detected on time but currently has no vaccines. Also hepatitis C virus kills faster than Hepatitis B virus; she said.

Few Symptoms of Hepatitis are, Constant headache, Jaundice of the eyes and skin, Dark urine, Clay colored stool, pains at the upper right quadrant of the abdomen, joint pains and many more. Most people at risk are Health workers, Social workers, Force personnel, New born babies, People living in hepatitis epidemic regions (Africa), Persons living with and in contact with infected persons and Everyone that is yet to be vaccinated.

She called on everyone to know their status by attending the free screening this week and also receive the free vaccines.

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