An art exhibition to raise awareness about Hepatitis B took place on Thursday at Transcorp Hilton.
The event was to raise funds for vaccines for people in Durumi IDP Camp for World Hepatitis Day on July 28.
“We are convinced that we can positively use art to sensitize people to social issues,” said Tola Ijaiya, the organiser, contributing artist to the exhibit, and founder of May Palette organisation which hosted the event.
May Palette is a volunteer organisation for young artists in Abuja that works to use art as a tool to address development issues in Nigeria. The exhibit at Transcorp Hilton featured various mediums of art from many of Abuja’s local artists.
“Humans will not come out except there is something to attract them,” said Tayo Amori, a painter who displayed several of his works at the exhibit. Mr. Amori said he sees the exhibit as a “vehicle to create awareness for people” about Hepatitis B.
Hepatitis B is a virus which inflames the liver, and is said to be more deadly and more common than HIV. Like HIV, Hepatitis B yet has no cure. The virus spreads through simple contact with bodily fluids, such as sweat, semen, blood etc. of an infected person.
“Prevention is better than cure,” said David Uzochukwu who gave a speech about the virus to officially open the exhibition
Mr. Uzochukwu, who serves as the Deputy Medical Director of a diagnostic center in Abuja, said raising awareness about Hepatitis B is crucial to prevent the spread of the disease.
Since there is no cure for Hepatitis B, Mr. Uzochukwu said, vaccination is the only way to prevent the spread of the disease.
Unfortunately, the vaccine for Hepatitis B – which comes in three successive shots -, costs upwards of N30,000; an amount that is unaffordable for a lot of Nigerians.
Mr. Ijaiya, who has lost close kin to the disease, said he hopes that raising awareness about the disease puts it at the fore of concerns for both civilians and the government of Nigeria.
Hadiza Mustapha, an art lover who came to see the exhibit and support its cause, said she hopes that all those who attended would spread the word to those who “don’t have the opportunity to come to a hotel like Hilton.”
May Palette will present proceeds from the exhibit to the Durumi IDP camp on July 28. The organisation is accepting donations and patronage to meet its goal to provide testing and vaccination against Hepatitis B for as many people in the camp as possible.