Nasarawa State Health sector stakeholders have commended the African Union Scientific, Technical and Research Commission, African Scientific Research and Innovation Council and African Liver Patient Association for the free hepatitis intervention.
Director of Public Health, Nasarawa State Ministry of Health, Dr. Ibrahim Adamu, in an interview commended AU and ALPA for adopting an approach that brings hepatitis treatment and care closer to the communities.
He said, “Eliminating viral hepatitis was a task that must be accomplished and Nasarawa State was prepared and open to partnerships.” He added that the high cost of treating hepatitis had deterred some of those diagnosed with the disease, especially those in the rural areas from seeking medical solutions.
Adamu added that awareness of hepatitis could lead to early detection which is life-saving.
“As a state, we are addressing these challenges through our elimination strategy which is guided by four principles plan wisely, test smart, cure-all, and prevent new cases. It is a pilot project in Nigeria, which included sensitization sessions and trainers were trained so that the work continues, the aim of the intervention is not for the work to stop,’’ he said.
The intervention includes free counseling, free testing, free treatment, free drugs and free vaccination against hepatitis in the Shabu community in Nasarawa State.
Adamu added that the elimination plan focuses on the optimal deployment of resources for case finding, ensuring treatment for identified patients, and rollout of prevention strategies in areas with higher transmission rates.
On his part, Nasarawa State Commissioner for Health, Dr. Gaza Gwamna commended all stakeholders including international partners like AU and ALPA for strategizing towards combating hepatitis. “We know that the government alone cannot tackle the burden of viral hepatitis,” he said.
He complimented the partners for ensuring that persons confirmed to be positive were undergoing free treatment and giving free vaccination to negative cases.
According to him, “Sensitization of preventive measures and creating access to care and treatment was a crucial part of the programme,’’ he said.
The Executive Director of Nasarawa State HIV/AIDS Control Agency, Dr. Ruth Bello, called for awareness of hepatitis adding that Hepatitis C remains curable.
She commended the free testing and treatment given to everyone who came to the venue of the intervention in Shabu.
“Everyone that was here got tested and treated and sensitized on how to stop the spread.
“There have also been collective efforts with the partners and the State to ensure that hepatitis diagnostics and curative treatments are readily available,’’ she said.