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20 million Nigerians suffering from hepatitis, says Philip Ugbodaga

28/07/2014 15:25
Dr. Philip Ugbodaga, former chairman of the Nigeria Medical Association, Edo State chapter, has said that about 20million Nigerians are infected with hepatitis B and C.
He disclosed this at the 2014 World Hepatitis Day campaign in Edo State, on Monday, organised by the Clem Agba Foundation.
He said the figure represented about 12 per cent of the country's population.
Ugbodaga, who is an oral and maxillofacial surgeon, said the disease, which was deadlier than HIV/AIDS, with more than 500 million people infected globally, remained unknown to many Nigerians.
The expert, who is also a volunteer of TGAF, told The PUNCH that more than 350 million people were infected globally with hepatitis B while more than 150 million people were infected with hepatitis C.
“In Nigeria, up to eight per cent of our population are infected with hepatitis B and up to four per cent are infected with hepatitis C, hence the need to create awareness on the causative organism of this disease and to let people know about it and how to prevent the disease,” Ugbodaga said.
‎He said the theme for the 2014 World Hepatitis Day, ‘Think Again’, would create a platform for Nigerians to reflect again about the millions of people who had lost their lives to the disease.
He said, “Let us think about people who do not know what causes Hepatitis and let us think again about what we need to do to ensure that our people get information on the killer disease.”
Hepatitis, a liver disease, results from an infection with any of at least five‎ distinct viruses, with the most common identified as Hepatitis A (HAV), Hepatitis B (HBV) and Hepatitis C (HCV).
The disease could be spread through transfusion of infected blood, unsterilised equipment, sexual intercourse and from mother to infants during pregnancy and at childbirth.
Complications include serious liver diseases such as liver cirrhosis, liver failure, liver cancer and even death.
Source - PUNCH

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