In order to bring Hepatitis to a stand-still, Ogun State Government says its vaccination has been included in the immunization routine for newborns, and pregnant women.
The Commissioner for Health, Dr. Tomi Coker made this known at a press conference held in commemoration of the 2020 World Hepatitis Day, with the theme, “Hepatitis-free future”, with a strong focus on preventing Hepatitis B among mothers and newborns.
Represented by the Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Health, Dr. Adesanya Ayinde, the Commissioner said Hepatitis B, which is a blood borne and sexually transmitted pathogen is spread through contaminated blood and other body fluids.
Dr. Coker explained that eight out of every 10 people living with Hepatitis lacked prevention, testing and treatment services, lamenting that Nigeria was one of the countries with the highest burden of viral Hepatitis, with about 11 percent of the population for Hepatitis B and 2.2 percent for Hepatitis C.
She said the theme underscored the fact that complete immunization of newborns and infants with all the necessary antigens, including Hepatitis B vaccine was critical at ensuring ‘a Hepatitis-free Ogun State’.
The Commissioner stated that the State was committed to offering Hepatitis B screening and other necessary tests, as a comprehensive package of care for pregnant women during antenatal care, pointing out that the efforts of the Wife of the Governor, Mrs. Bamidele Abiodun which earned her the honour of Hepatitis Ambassador were commendable.
Calling on stakeholders to unite and provide much needed input for the elimination of hepatitis in Ogun State, Coker said major resources were needed to achieve the global goal of eliminating Hepatitis by 2030.
“Hepatitis immunization is now part of routine immunization for babies in Ogun State. As a government, we are determined to give comprehensive package of care, including Hepatitis B screening during antenatal care to pregnant women,” she said.
The Commissioner revealed that, ‘’the viral Hepatitis is preventable, treatable and in the case of Hepatitis C, low testing and treatment is the most important gap to be addressed in order to achieve the global elimination goal’’.