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Hepatitis: Intensify immunisation coverage – Pate urges African nations



The Coordinating Minister of Health and Social Welfare, Prof Ali Pate, has urged African nations to intensify efforts to increase immunisation coverage for chronic hepatitis.....PROCEED.FULL.READING>>>

The minister stated that hepatitis has continued to pose a huge public health threat, unleashing devastating consequences among patients grappling with chronic infections worldwide.

This was contained in a speech he delivered at the opening ceremony of the African Hepatitis Summit with the theme: ‘Putting Africa on Track towards Viral Hepatitis Elimination’.

Pate was represented by the Permanent Secretary, Daju Kachollom, at the event.

“However, it’s noteworthy that hepatitis is preventable and curable, by putting in place a simplified approach deliverable at the primary level of care.

“This approach fortifies our ongoing and sustained commitment towards achieving universal health coverage by 2023,” he said.

Giving statistics about the disease, Pate reminded stakeholders that currently, Africa battles with a substantial hepatitis burden, with 82 million people living with Chronic Hepatitis B (CHB) and nine million people living with Chronic Hepatitis C (CHC) infections.

He added that the figures were further exacerbated by the fact that only 0.1 per cent of two per cent diagnosed with CHB and zero per cent of five per cent diagnosed with CHC received treatment in the year 2020.

Pate further noted that the high cost of treatment, which was often paid out-of-pocket continues to create a barrier to assess.

“It is high time African nations collaborate to advocate for local production. We must also explore that health insurance are optimised.

“As we advocate for augmented financial commitment and support for hepatitis control response, it is imperative for African countries to align with World Health Organisation’s (WHO) new global health sector strategy, which has delineated new actions and targets to eliminate viral hepatitis by 2030.

“This strategy aims to curtail new infections and deaths to half a million each, globally, a reduction of 90 per cent and 65 per cent respectively,” he said.

On the home front, Pate said that Nigeria is committed to eliminating the disease.

“We will persist in working with the WHO and other stakeholders as well as mobilise and sustain domestic funding until Nigeria is hepatitis-free,” he said.

On his part, the President, World Hepatitis Alliance (WHA), Dr Danjuma Adda, said that he was not proud of the slow progress of African nations towards eliminating viral hepatitis as more could be done.

According to him, every year many are pushed into extreme poverty by the cost of paying for care out of pocket.

Presenting a paper about ‘The Cost of Hepatitis Elimination in Africa- Investment Case’, Dr Homie Razavi, Managing Director, Center for Disease Analysis (CDA) Foundation, said that Hepatitis B Virus (HBV) screening and treatment would peak at 2.1 to 1.7 billion dollars per year in 2035.

He also said that that Hepatitis C Vaccine (HCV) screening and treatment would peak at 218 million dollars per year and would drop after elimination is achieved……CONTINUE.FULL.READING>>>

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