Anambra State government has disclosed plans to screen and vaccinate pregnant women in the state against hepatitis.
The Commissioner for Health, Dr Vincent Okpala gave the hint in Awka during a press briefing to mark the 2020 World Hepatitis Day, themed, “Hepatitis Free Future”, targeted at raising global awareness of groups of infectious diseases to reduce the spread and consequences.
He said the exercise which would be carried out across the three senatorial districts of the state was part of measures to ensure hepatitis free generation in the state.
He noted that the Government has sustained wide screening and awareness creation across the three Districts
He said, “World Hepatitis Day observed on July 28 every year aims to raise global awareness of this group of infectious diseases to reduce the spread and consequences.
“Viral hepatitis is inflammation of the liver caused by one or more of five main hepatic viruses with similar symptoms but differ significantly in spread, prevention, diagnosis, care and treatment.
“According to available statistics over 290 million people worldwide are living with viral hepatitis without being aware while in Nigeria, over 20 million people are living with the virus.
“The State is among the first states in the country to implement the Federal Government National Hepatitis Policy which focuses on awareness, screening, prevention and treatment of viral hepatitis while the establishment of Anambra State Health Insurance Scheme has helped positive patients to access treatment at affordable rate.
Okpala further explained that the State was among the first states in the country to implement the Federal Government National Hepatitis Policy focused on awareness, screening, prevention and treatment of viral hepatitis.
He added that the establishment of Anambra State Health Insurance Scheme has helped positive patients to access treatment at affordable rates.
The Commissioner identified mode of transmission to include contact with infectious blood, semen and other bodily fluids primarily during birth from hepatitis B- infected mother, sexual contact with hepatitis B-infected person, sharing needles, syringes and other sharp instruments among others.
He cautioned against harmful cultural practices of traditional circumcision and tribal marks, sharing of personal items like tooth brush and razors, insisting on proper use of condoms, as well as ensuring periodic immunization of children.
Director of Public Health and Disease Control in the Ministry, Dr Uchechukwu Onyejimbe, underscored the place of collective efforts to fight the virus.