Vice Presidential Candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in the last elections, Peter Obi, has called for unified efforts against the scourge of viral hepatitis, described as an inflammation of the liver that causes a range of health problems, including liver cancer.
Obi who made the call through a message from his media office commemorating the World Hepatitis Day 2020, themed “Hepatitis Free Future”. He noted that over 1.3 million people lose their lives to the sickness yearly across the globe.
Amidst the war against coronavirus pandemic, Obi believes that hepatitis, which he described as a silent killer, deserves an urgent attention. He said that every Nigerian deserves timely access to hepatitis testing and treatment, as early detection of the disease could reduce fatality rate.
“Hepatitis Free Nigeria is possible if we all can unite against this disease which kills slowly and silently. Amidst the coronavirus pandemic, thousands of lives are lost daily to this sickness. As with other health issues, prevention is always better than cure. More awareness of this viral infection needs to be created to educate the public on possible risk factors and preventive measures.
“Early testing and detection are encouraged among the people. Every Nigerian, therefore, deserves timely access to Hepatitis testing and treatment so as to reduce the number of lives lost to the sickness,” Obi said in the message.
Lamenting the visible setbacks experienced in the health sector ranging from inadequate funding, lack of modern equipment to inadequate health personnel, Obi noted that the health sector was a critical sector that should be made a priority by the government. He said a country that values the lives of their citizens should make adequate investment in the health sector as that will result in citizens’ well-being and in turn lead to economic well-being of the nation.
“In line with African Union’s recommendation, that for the continent to be at par with other nations of the world in terms of healthcare provision, at least 15 percent of their annual budget, should be allocated to the health sector, I advise the Federal and State Governments to increase the budgetary provisions for health care, considering its overwhelming importance on the national economy.
“Adequate investment in the health care sector will enhance health care delivery and improve testing and treatment of diseases among the people,” Obi submitted.
The World Hepatitis Day is celebrated on July 28 every year in honour of Nobel-prize winning scientist Dr Baruch Blumberg, who discovered hepatitis B virus (HBV) and developed a diagnostic test and vaccine for the virus.