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Hepatitis: WHO raises alarm over 1.5m new cases yearly in Africa

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….as 300 die daily

The World Health Organization, WHO, has raised alarm over 1.5 million new infection of Hepatitis occuring yearly in Africa.

WHO Regional Director for Africa, Dr Matshidiso Moeti, stated this on his message to commemorate World hepatitis day 2020 and made available to journalists in Abuja.

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He said out of the 71 million Africans with chronic viral hepatitis, 300 people sadly lose their lives daily from liver cancer and other complications related to hepatitis B and C infections.

The theme of this year celebration is “Hep Free Future” highlighting the importance of preventing mother-to-child transmission of hepatitis B and scaling-up prevention, testing and treatment to control hepatitis B and cure hepatitis C. push({});

On 28 July, every year is use to  commemorate World Hepatitis Day to increase awareness of this public health threat.

According to the WHO boss, “Hepatitis B comprises 85% of the hepatitis burden in the WHO African Region. The most vulnerable time for infection is in the first month of life, and this can be prevented with hepatitis B birth-dose vaccination in the first 24 hours of life. Achieving at least 90% coverage in the Region, would prevent over 1.5 million new infections and 1.2 million deaths from liver cancer by 2035.

Hepatitis B can go undetected for years and have devastating consequences. For example, Ansah, a 25-year old Ghanaian woman, was diagnosed with hepatitis B and liver cancer during antenatal care. Her baby was protected with hepatitis B birth-dose vaccination administered within 24 hours of birth, but Ansah’s future is uncertain. Her family said: “We did not know that the infection could be so silent and the consequences so grave.

“Despite the low cost of the hepatitis B birth-dose vaccine, only 13 African countries have introduced it, far short of the target of 25 countries by 2020.  So far, 15 countries have launched national hepatitis plans, and Rwanda and Uganda have national testing and treatment programmes for hepatitis.”.

He noted that, WHO is working with countries and partners to accelerate action towards a 90% reduction of new hepatitis B and C infections and a 65% reduction of deaths by 2030. Achieving these goals requires urgent introduction and scaling-up of hepatitis B birth-dose vaccination and leveraging the HIV and syphilis infrastructure to prevent mother-to-child transmission and ensure mothers have access to testing and treatment. I commend the Organization of African First Ladies, in this regard for advocating triple elimination of mother-to-child transmission of HIV, syphilis and hepatitis B.

“As we battle COVID-19, the threat of further delays to scaling-up hepatitis B birth-dose vaccination and other essential hepatitis services looms large. People with hepatitis-related complications are at a higher risk of developing severe cases of COVID-19 and must continue to receive essential hepatitis prevention and treatment services during the pandemic and beyond.

“With political commitment from governments and partners, backed by financing and integrated using a health system strengthening approach, and with informed and empowered communities, we can achieve a #HepFreeFuture”.

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Health and Life Style

Group Urges FG To Ensure Affordable Access To Drugs For PWD

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The Diabetes Association of Nigeria, has called on the Nigerian government to ensure affordable access to fundamental care for people with diabetes(PWD).

Speaking during  sensitization exercise to commemorate the 2021 World Diabetes Day, National President of the Association, Dr Alkali Mohammed,  stated that access to care which include information, drugs, technology, and support is a right to all citizens and will go a long way to reverse the emerging ugly trend of the diabetic epidemic. 

“Diabetes has become a major global epidemic being the leading Non-Communicable Disease (NCD).There are 537million people living with diabetes globally and is projected to reach 743 million by 2030 unless urgent steps are taken. Almost 1 in 2 of the people living with diabetes are undiagnosed while 4 in 5  of them are  in the middle and low-income countries.

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 “In the year 2021,diabetes is responsible for 6.7million deaths. Although no reliable National Data is available in Nigeria, about 6 million Nigerians are  estimated to have diabetes.

“It is not an exaggeration to say that almost everyone in Nigeria has a relation or friend that is diabetic and might have lost one. This is only going to worsen unless concerted efforts are put in place,” he said.

He also called on government to develop appropriate policies to improve the presentation of type 2 diabetes and also improve screening to ensure timely diagnosis and prevention of diabetes related complications.

Mohammed urged for implementation mechanisms to engage with diabetes meaningfully in the development of policies to tackle diabetes. 

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He revealed that this year’s commendation of the event is  unique because of the  COVID-19 epidemic as people with diabetes have higher complications and mortalities among the infected patients.

The national president also added that this year also mark the 100 years since the discovery of insulin which was a breakthrough in the treatment of diabetes.

“However, despite the existence of insulin for a decade, 1 in 2 people in need of insulin globally cannot afford it. In Nigeria, the gap in access is even more as our health care system is mainly funded through out of pockets system.

“Additionally, the current economic realities and high inflationary trend is a major challenge to the effective management of diabetes as most patients cannot afford the minimum basic care since they do not have money,” he said.

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The World Diabetes Day is celebrated on the 14th of November annually to serve as the primary global awareness campaign of the diabetes world.

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UNICEF Organises Workshop On COVID-19 Vaccine For Journalists On Demand Creation

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The United Nations Children’s Fund(UNICEF) has organised a workshop for journalists  on ways  to support the Federal Government on COVID-19 vaccination exercise in Nigeria.

Speaking during a  Two Day Media Engagement Dialogue on Demand Creation for COVID-19 Vaccine organized in collaboration with the Child Rights Information Bureau of the Federal Ministry of information and Culture in Kano, Communication Specialist for UNICEF Nigeria, Geoffrey Njoku revealed that the vaccination exercise was slow in some states because the government were reluctant to provide  logistics  for the exercise.

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He therefore urged journalists in the country to use their various tools for advocacy to both Federal and state government to provide logistics and operational support for the delivery of vaccines to every part of the country. adsbygoogle || []).push({});

Njoku also added that Journalists have to be on the forefront of allaying fears amongst Nigerians who had  conspiracy theories about the vaccine, there creating vaccine hesitancy in many parts of the country.

While being optimistic that the workshop will avail the participants on the skills to use to ensure the increase of uptakes of the vaccine, Njoku urged the journalists to use data from World Health Organisation(WHO), UNICEF, Nigeria Centre for Disease Control(NCDC) and other reliable organisations to derive stories that will bring about positive impact on the vaccination exercise.

Also speaking while giving an opening remark, the WASH Manager, UNICEF Field Office, Kano, Rafid Salih stated that vaccine hesitancy have to be tackled hands down so as to avoid deaths caused by the virus.

Salih who was represented  UNICEF Chief of Field Office in Kano State, Maulid Warfa urged the journalists to use that same medium used to perpetrate misinformation about the virus, to propagate the fact to every part of the country.

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COVID-19 Misinformation: NOA Promises Collaboration With Paged Initiative To Battle Scourge

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The National Orientation Agency(NOA) has promised to work with the Participatory Communication Through Gender Development (PAGED) Initiative, a media and advocacy Non-governmental Organisation (NGO) to battle the issue of COVID-19 Misinformation in 19 Northern states of the country.

While the organisation paid a courtesy visit to the Agency, the Director General of NOA, Garba Abari stated that they were ready to collaborate with any organisation on the dissemination of information to curb the COVID-19 virus.

Abari who was represented by the Agency’s Director of Special Duties and State Operations, Mette Edekobi revealed that NOA was well equipped to carry out any awareness in the country as it has staff in all the 774 local government in the country.

“Our strength is the fact that we speak all languages. Our 774 officials are in their local government areas where they can speak the local languages and communicate with the people in the way that they will understand. We are predestined to do what we are doing,” he said.

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Abari who lamented that the Agency had to battle with the issue of fake information about the virus and its vaccine, added that collaboration with other organizations would help a great deal as many Nigerians do not believe in their leaders, no matter what they tell them.

“So we need Nigerians to hear from other people that do not come from the government and maybe that will make them believe,” he said.

Earlier while stating the reason for their visit, the Programme Director, Paged Initiative, Ummi Bukar, said her NGO was there to ascertain the challenges NOA has encountered in the dissemination of information about COVID-19 and where the organisation can come in to assist curb the pandemic.

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“In terms of COVID-19 media response, what we want from NOA is to know the gaps you have encountered that you will need the media to help address because there are still a lot of people who do not believe that COVID-19 exist. There is a lot of mis-information out there. We are have a lot of media partners across the 19 states that can help in this aspect,” she said.

Bukar added that her NGO in collaboration with European Union and Free Press have helped push for participatory development to ensure that the needs of the communities were met.

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Abdulrahman Obaje
Abdulrahman Obaje
Prince Abdulrahman Obaje is a Media and ICT Consultant, Journalist, online marketer, social media strategist, Mathematician and Computer Scientist based in Abuja, Nigeria. He is the Founder and the Publisher of The Informavores!. You can reach me on +234 805 939 5252 or send i-witness report directly to me on news@informavores.com.ng.

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