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WHO: Hepatitis kills 1.34 million yearly

The World Health Organization (WHO) has said that 1.34 million persons are killed every year as a result of viral hepatitis. WHO made this known in a report on global Hepatitis virus posted on their official site to celebrate The World Hepatitis Day (WHD). In 2016, a report published by Punch newspaper indicates that 10 to 15 percent, representing 20 million Nigerians, are living with hepatitis B as quoted by Medical expert, Dr. Olufunmilayo Lesi. However, WHO reported that Hepatitis remains a major health challenge affecting over 325 million people globally and is also the root causes of liver cancer which has become 10 times larger than the global HIV epidemic. WHO has said that The World Hepatitis Day (WHD), which takes place every year on July 28, will help bring the world together under a single theme to raise awareness of the global mishap of viral hepatitis and to influence real change. Dr Oluwabiyi Opeyemi, a Medical consultant at Ifako Ijaiye general hospital, in an exclusive interview with Gaintability News, explained that every day, 10 out of 10,000 Nigerians die as a result of Hepatitis. She described that during diagnosis patients may be diagnosed of hepatitis but then their bodies may produce anti bodies that can successfully defeat the virus. In that instance, the person does not become a carrier of hepatitis B virus but at the time at which the test is conducted the virus may be present and detected. That’s why patients are advised to conduct hepatitis test at least twice with three month interval each in order to fully determine ones status. In cases where a patient comes for test and is found positive and returns in three month and is still positive, such a patient is a chronic carrier as such it is not professional to conclude a patient status in one round of the test, Dr Opeyemi said. She added that chronic carriers cannot convert once they are detected, rather they are referred to the Gastroenterologist because it’s a liver problem. The medical consultant advised everyone to know their status by going for general test. If negative after two tests then the vaccine should be injected to prevent contraction and those positive should start treatment to prevent further damage. BY ANNE BASSEY

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