World Health Organization

The Minister of Health, Isaac Adewole, has warned Nigerians against delivering babies at home and circumcision by unqualified hands.

He said such acts are some of the major causes of Hepatitis.

According to a report, Mr Adewole said this in Abuja on Tuesday at a briefing held to mark the 2018 World Hepatitis Day.

About 20 million Nigerians have at least one form of hepatitis, says health experts.

Hepatitis is an inflammation of the liver, commonly caused by a viral infection. The most common forms are hepatitis A, B, and C. The disease could cause chronic liver disease, liver cancer and death without manifesting any weighty symptoms.

The minister noted that Hepatitis killed 1.3 million people across the world every year.

“While Hepatitis C could be cured, Hepatitis B has no known remedy but it could be prevented by taking a vaccine.

“In our clime, the risk factors include local circumcision, local uvulectomy and scarification on the body. Other predisposing factors include surgical procedures, deliveries that occur at home and blood transfusion to mention a few. May I inform you that our target is to eliminate Viral Hepatitis by the year 2030 in line with the Sustainable Development Goals:, Adewole said.

He noted that some of the common symptoms included poor appetite, tiredness, vomiting, yellow discolouration of the skin and the white portion of the eye.

“Permit me to add that viral hepatitis is a global infectious disease and, worldwide, one in 12 persons is estimated to be living with the infection. This translates to approximately 292 million people who are actively infected with Hepatitis B virus, while 71 million are actively infected with Hepatitis C virus.

“It is very disheartening that globally, an estimated 1.8 million children under five years have Hepatitis B infection despite the availability of a potent vaccine that could be used to protect children against the virus.”

Mr Adewole urged Nigerians to seize the opportunity of the ongoing Nigeria AIDS Indicators and Impact Survey to know their status or simply walk into any health facility to do a blood test, which would not take more than 15 minutes to verify one’s status.

It is estimated that about 300 million people are living with viral hepatitis across the world, most of whom are not aware of their status.

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