The growing rate of Hepatitis among Nigerians has aroused the attention of a non-governmental organization in Edo State, the Clem Agba Foundation (TCAF), which noted that not less than 23 million Nigerians live with the dreaded disease.
Besides, it said that majority of the 23 million Nigerians are not aware of their status as regards the ailment that is said to have become more deadly than HIV/AIDS. To this end, the foundation has lamented the rising rate of the scourge and the alarming low level of awareness and therefore, urged relevant government agencies and departments to do more in the area of awareness creation.
Founder of the foundation, Mr. Clem Agba made the disclosure when he formally launched the foundation to mark his 50th birthday.
He said his mission transcends political, ethnic, religious and other differences. “It is about creating awareness about the neglected killer – hepatitis and the institution of a foundation to engage in public awareness campaigns, evidence-based data for action, prevention of the causative virus’ transmission, as well as screening, counselling, care and providing further treatment. Hepatitis is a silent global epidemic that has infected 370 million people and responsible for almost a million deaths annually. “Recent statistics indicate that not less than 23 million Nigerians are estimated to be infected with the Hepatitis B virus (HBV), making Nigeria one of the countries with the highest incidence of HBV infection in the world.
“Most of the people who are infected are unaware of their infection and this has resulted in the silent hepatitis infection becoming one of the biggest threats to the health of the world. HBV is about 10 times more prevalent than HIV infection worldwide and the general perception is that HIV virus is very infectious and contagious. However, Hepatitis B Virus is 100 times more infectious than HIV,” he said.