As the world commemorates World Haematology Day, Dr Charles Onyekwere, Head of Gastroenterology & Hepatitis Unit, Dept. of Medicine, LASUTH joined the rest of the world to celebrate this day as he spoke, on the theme of the 2020 World Hepatitis Day which is tagged ‘Find the Missing Millions’, during a webinar on Monday, the 27th of July, 2020.
While detailing the essence of the worldwide recognition for the day, he said it’s a call on the people from across the world to take action and raise awareness towards a hepatitis free future. He further noted that the World Health Organization (WHO) set a goal for elimination of viral hepatitis by 2030 which means that “the number of newly infected persons and related mortality should be decreased by 90% and 65% respectively”. He highlighted some areas in which elimination programs should focus on and these include; testing, immunization against hepatitis B virus (HBV), preventing mother to child transmission, blood safety and harm reduction.
On how well WHO goals have panned out, Dr Onyekwere noted that the COVID 19 pandemic has stalled effort to push the vision. He, therefore, noted that health professionals need to intensify effort on “encouraging the populace to come out en-mass verify their status and ensure that they are not carriers of the hepatitis A, B or C Virus.” He also admonished on the involvement of the Government on setting structures for readily available vaccines and affordable treatment.
He recommended that everyone should keep tabs on their health and closely monitor their wellbeing. “People should go for a regular checkup, take their vaccine doses, and encourage the people around them to encourage others to participate.
The World Health Organization first celebrated World Hepatitis Day on the 28th of July, 2011.