-Emphasises means of curbing the spread
In commemoration of the World Hepatitis Day 2022, pharmacists under the aegis of Association of Hospital and Administrative Pharmacists of Nigeria (AHAPN) Lagos State Chapter, took hepatitis awareness campaign and free screening to over 200 residents of Mushin Local Government Area, on Thursday, to enlighten them of risk factors as well as for them to know their status, regarding the disease.
Speaking on the theme of this year’s celebration, which is ““Bringing hepatitis care closer to you”, the keynote speaker, Pharm. Ebiere Herbertson, described hepatitis as a silent killer, which informed their action of bringing the free screening closer to the people at the grass root level.
She defined hepatitis as an inflammation of the liver, with five main types of the hepatitis virus – A, B, C, D and E. There are different means of transmitting the different types of hepatitis virus.
She said while Hepatitis A is usually spread through contaminated food or water by fecal matter, Hepatitis B can be transmitted through contact with the blood or body fluids of an infected person. Hepatitis C can also spread through infected blood such as sharing of infected needles/ mother-to-child transmission.. It is also rarely spread via unprotected sex. Hepatitis D transmission occurs through broken skin via injection, tattooing or through contact with the infected blood or blood products.
Herbertson further explained the rationale behind their mission, which was to reduce spread of the disease. “To mark this year’s World Hepatitis Day, Lagos State AHAPN organised series of screening with the provision of testing kits for over 200 participants for Hepatitis B, C, and some other chronic diseases. This was to ensure that people are aware and conscious of the danger of hepatitis in the society and endeavour to get vaccinated to prevent it in the future”, she stated.
The Chairman, AHAPN, Lagos State Chapter, Pharm.(Dr) Modupe Oyawole, enlightened participants on the symptoms of hepatitis such as yellowish eyes, swollen tummy, fatigue, low blood level, as they advance gradually, some of them develop dark coloured urine, among others.
While stressing the importance of early detection, she asserted that if the disease is not arrested early, it could lead to death, as they already discovered three participants who tested positive, and were ignorance of their conditions, until after they were screened.
According to her: “If hepatitis is not properly diagnosed and treated accordingly, it could lead to death as the liver is the major organ that is affected. I was told that three persons tested positive today, which shows that they wouldn’t have known if we had not come here today”.
Herbertson, earlier mentioned other causes of the infection saying liver inflammation could be caused by drug abuse, alcohol use, or certain medical conditions but regularly caused by viruses.
The Lagos AHAPN members didn’t conclude the sensitisation campaign until they made a courtesy call to the LGA’s Chairman, Mr Olanrewaju Bamigboye, in his office, to express their appreciation for his support and physical presence at the screening centre.
In an interview with one of the participants, simply known as Mr Tajudeen, a petty trader, he appreciated the kind gestures of Lagoe AHAPN in bringing free screening closer to them at the secretariat, saying some of them wouldn’t have known about hepatitis without the association’s efforts.