Wisdom Ihejieto, the Deputy Secretary of the Guild of Medical Directors, FCT chapter, said about 20 million Nigerians were infected with hepatitis in Nigeria.
Ihejieto disclosed this when the National President of the Guild, Tony Philips, paid a courtesy visit to the Managing Director of the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN), Bayo Onanuga, on Tuesday in Abuja.
According to him, hepatitis is an inflammation of the liver, commonly caused by a viral infection.
The deputy secretary said those living with the disease cut across different parts of the country, mostly health workers who are exposed to sharp objects in hospitals as well as those indulging in promiscuity.
According to him, the figure is collated from all public and private hospitals across the country.
He said that hepatitis was usually transmitted through oral, sharp objects and sexual intercourse.
“There is need to create awareness; as I speak to you now, 18 to 20 million Nigerians are infected with hepatitis,” he said.
The deputy secretary noted that the rate of hepatitis infection had reached an alarming stage and adequate attention should be given before it becomes an epidemic.
Earlier, the national president said that he led the delegation to NAN to seek for collaboration with the guild to combat the menace in the country through awareness creation.
Mr. Philips described hepatitis as a silent killer, worse than HIV and AIDS that could destroy the liver in the body.
He said that it was important for the guild to partner NAN because of its wide reach across the country and beyond.
The president disclosed that the guild’s members were mainly owners of private hospitals with 10 years post-graduation experience.
He added that the association had scheduled an annual conference on May 27 to create more awareness on hepatitis.
Responding, Mr. Onanuga pledged to support and partner with the guild to fight the spread of hepatitis in the country.
He said that NAN had the capacity to create such awareness or sensitise Nigerians all over the country to the dangers of hepatitis.
“NAN is the engine of the media in the country because 70 per cent of news on the media are NAN contents.
“We shall deploy all our platforms like news stories, multimedia, photos and SMS, among others, to collaborate with you to sensitise Nigerians to the disease.
“As deadly as hepatitis, I am happy your association is bringing it to the front burner to create that awareness it deserves,” he said.