In commemoration of World Hepatitis Day, a coalition of medical volunteer groups have conducted free hepatitis screening for children and adolescents at Ilaje community, Bariga, Lagos.
The medical volunteer groups which comprise Neo-Child Initiative, Health Drive Nigeria, Fola David Foundation and DOCi Initiative, sensitised residents on how to prevent Hepatitis and called for the support of the government in vaccinating against the illness.
During the free screening and campaign against hepatitis on Tuesday, about 200 children and adolescents were screened for the disease.
World Hepatitis Day (WHD) is marked on July 28 every year to create more awareness on hepatitis and ways to reduce the burden. WHD 2020 is tagged ‘Hepatitis-free future.’
Nigeria’s health minister, Osagie Ehanire, said on Tuesday that about 20 million Nigerians are chronically infected with hepatitis B and C.
The Acting Team Lead of the medical volunteers, Nimat Anibaba, said two out of the 200 children screened were positive. She said those who tested positive will be referred to the Primary Health Centre in the Local Council Development Area and vaccinated against hepatitis.
Miss Anibaba said the screening and campaign against hepatitis is in line with the focus of the organisation.
“In line with the objectives of the organisation which caters for the health and education of the Nigerian children, the project was divided into two major aspects which include health and education.
“The health section screened children while the education aspect gave health and awareness talks to the children and their mothers,” she said.
Miss Anibaba solicited support from sponsors to enable the organisation to facilitate a Post Health Education Intervention Research.
Speaking at the campaign, the project manager, Obehioye Aimiosior, said there is a need for more awareness and funding for immunization against the viral illness.
“The attention on COVID-19 has caused a shift from other illnesses which are just as serious or even that are even more serious,” she said.
She called on the government and other stakeholders to pay attention to education on hepatitis and vaccination against the disease.
Tamilore Oyewumi, a medical volunteer at the campaign, said hepatitis is one of the diseases people know little or nothing about, despite its widespread.
Ms Oyewumi said although hepatitis has symptoms like malaria, it is easily spread more than HIV and malaria, but many people do not know about it.
“Symptoms of Hepatitis are similar to malaria so it is important to screen and get them immunised against the disease in order to get them treated early enough.”
The group called for more awareness on hepatitis as carriers of this deadly disease are most ignorant of the disease which can cause a potential death.