By Solomon Attah, Lafia –
Nasarawa State government has voted the sum of N40 million to combat the spread of Hepatitis C, which has claimed the lives of people in the state.
N40 million vote followed concerned that the state sero-prevalence rate of 13.2% for Hepatitis ‘C’ Virus, is significantly higher than the Nigeria’s average.
To this end, the governorment is calling for all stakeholders to immediately work in synergy to fight the disease.
Nasarawa State governor, Abdullahi Sule, announced the setting aside of the money on Thursday in Lafia, during the flag-off ceremony of the 5-year Hepatitis ‘C’ elimination plan and inauguration of the Technical Working Group (TWG) for the elimination of the scourge in Nasarawa State.
Sule, who commend the state’s development partners for this laudable collaboration aimed at eliminating Hepatitis ‘C’ within the next five years, said it was in line with the World Health Organization (WHO’s) elimination goal of 2023.
He said: “This is aimed at facilitating the screening of over 2.4 million persons and providing treatment for over 124,000 persons.
“We have also embarked on several other Interventions in the healthcare sector to improve the quality of healthcare services in our Primary, Secondary and Tertiary health institutions which include infrastructural upgrade, provision of various equipment, drugs and improvement in the health manpower, among others” he explained further.
He said currently, the intervention has been expanded to over 10 facilities in the state with no fewer than 85,000 persons screened, out of which 1,300 infected individuals were treated through the preliminary efforts.
“This intervention has become imperative, considering the fact that the Viral Hepatitis amongst other communicable diseases contributes significantly to the high mortality rates with an estimated 1.3 Million deaths per year globally.
“It is important to note that the Hepatitis ‘B’ (H’B’) and Hepatitis ‘C’ (H’C’) Viruses are the primary drivers of cirrhosis and liver cancer, accounting for 9% of total deaths from all cancers each year.
“Records revealed that in Nigeria, no fewer than 18 million people are living with Viral Hepatitis with prevalence rates of 8.9% for Hepatitis ‘B’ Virus and 1.1% for Hepatitis ‘C’ Virus,” the governor said.
Abdullahi, however, stressed that the N40 million was just a drop in the ocean when compared with the estimated State’s burden.
“As a demonstration of our commitment to fight this viral disease, this administration is committing the sum of forty million Naira as seed fund to combat the disease,” he said.
The governor charged the Technical Working Group to work out the modalities to ensure that a minimum of 10,000 persons are placed on treatment and cure within the 1st year.
“I am pleased to inform you that His Excellency, the deputy governor, Dr Emmanuel Akabe, who is also a Medical Doctor will champion this project to demonstrate the seriousness and commitment of this administration,” Abdullahi added.