Viral hepatitis, according to the World Health Organization (WHO) remains a disease of public health concern, with 257million people living with viral hepatitis B out of which 60million are in Africa.
The project director of the Women and Children Health Empowerment Foundation, Ibrahim Malik, who made this known yesterday in Jalingo, said 71million people are living with viral hepatitis C out of which 10million are in Africa.
The Nigeria HIV/AIDS Indicator and Impact Survey (NAIIS 2018)as stated by him indicates that Nigeria has 8.4% prevalence of viral hepatitis B, while hepatitis C is 1.1%.
Giving reasons on why WACHEF decided to integrate viral hepatitis into the Task-Shifting /Task-Sharing (TSTS) policy of the state, such move, he said would go a long way to address the global shortage of human resources for health, by allowing lower cadre health workers to provide some lifesaving skills in other to meet universal health coverage through the mobilization of available human resources for health to ensure equity, accessibility and effectiveness in the delivery of essential health care services and also to improve the knowledge of healthcare workers on testing and management of viral hepatitis.
The Women and Children Health
WACHEFwhom according to him is a member of the World Hepatitis Alliance (WHA), said the integration of testing and management of viral hepatitis B and C into the Taraba State Task-Shifting/Task-Sharing Policy becomes necessary because viral hepatitis is spreading faster than Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) in the state and the nation at large.
The Project Director, further noted that the integration of viral hepatitis B and C into the Taraba State TSTS policy document was made possible with the support from development Research and Project Center (RPC), through the Partnership for Advocacy in Child and Family Health (PACFaH@Scale).
Stressing that the Taraba State TSTS policy document was launched by the Permanent Secretary, Taraba State ministry of health Dr Musa Obadiah on the 12th of December, 2019 in Jalingo the Taraba State capital, the process, according to him, was actualized through series of advocacies, consultative, as well as dialogue meetings involving key stakeholders, which he said includes the World Health Organization (WHO), the State Ministry of Health, the State Primary Health Care Development Agency (TSPHCDA), Nigeria Medical Association (NMA), Association of Private Medical Practitioners (APMP) Pharmaceutical Council of Nigeria (PCN), Pharmaceutical Society of Nigeria (PSN), National Association of Nigerian Nurses and Midwives (NANNN), Medical and Health Workers Union (M&HWU) and the Coalition of civil societies among others.
Viral hepatitis, according to Malik, remains a disease of public health concern which necessitate the need for collective decision to integrate it into the said policy for essential health care services across the nooks and crannies of the state.
With all hands on deck, “the possibility of eliminating the disease from the state and the nation at large by 2030 as targeted is achieved able.”
He urged all the relevant stakeholders to join forces with WACHEF to stamp out viral hepatitis and other related diseases from the state.