Health

Hepatitis Deadlier Than AIDS, Malaria & TB

The World Health Organization (WHO) has warned that the threat of dying of Hepatitis has become worse than dying of malaria, AIDS or tuberculosis.

The World Health Organization has said only 47 countries in Africa are on the track to eliminate the disease.

The disease affects one in 15 people in Africa. The first-ever summit to assess the prevalence of hepatitis is to be presented at the first African Hepatitis Summit to be held in Kampala, Uganda from June 18-20.

The prevalence of hepatitis B is estimated at 5.5% in Nigeria. This estimate indicates that 5 in 100 people could have the disease. Back in 2015, the prevalence of hepatitis C among children aged under five was nearly in 100; meaning an estimated 812,000 had it.

In the general population, the prevalence for hepatitis C is two in 100 Nigerians. It is recorded that Nigeria is listed among countries with the highest prevalence of the disease in children under five.”

The high number is associated with a lack of vaccination against hepatitis at birth and poor coverage for pentavalent vaccination. A five-in-one vaccine that is supposed to protect children against five diseases, including hepatitis.

Other countries included in the group are; Benin Republic, Central African Republic, Equatorial Guinea, Guinea, Liberia, Mali, Sierra Leone and South Sudan.

The record created a guide for African states for the implementation of the Global Health Sector Strategy on Viral Hepatitis. The leaders called for its elimination by 2030.

The first step, states must achieve a 90% reduction in new cases and 65% reduction in deaths.

More than 60 million people under the WHO region in Africa, were living with chronic hepatitis B infection in 2015. And 4.8 million are children under the age of five.

Furthermore, 10 million of the people infected with hepatitis C, were most likely infected due to unsafe injection practices within facilities.

Out of the 47 countries in the region, only 7 are leading in the prevention efforts with national coverage of both the hepatitis B birth dose and childhood pentavalent vaccination exceeding 90%.

The World Health Organization has warned of major gaps in the testing and treatment of the disease. Stating that less than 8 countries are providing subsidized testing and treatment for viral hepatitis.

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