The Minister of Health, Osagie Ehanire said nearly 20 million Nigerians are infected with Hepatitis B or C.
According to him,awareness about the infections is poor. He added that the disease is under-reported, under-diagnosed and under-treated; while stigma and discrimination against those infected also posed challenges.
The Minister said this in Abuja on Monday during the launch of the national strategic framework for viral hepatitis and the flag-off ceremony of a nationwide hepatitis awareness campaign, in commemoration of this year’s World Hepatitis Day themed ‘Bringing Hepatitis Care Closer to You’.
Moreover, the World Health Organisation, Nigeria Representative, Walter Kazadi Mulombo, said in Africa, Nigeria had one of the highest burdens of viral hepatitis with a national hepatitis B prevalence rate of 8.1 per cent and a hepatitis C prevalence rate of 1.1 per cent among adults aged 15-64 years.
He added that by introducing the hepatitis B birth dose and the pentavalent vaccine into routine childhood immunization schedules in 2004, Nigeria was contributing to the global achievement of the reduction of hepatitis B infections in children.
He encouraged Nigeria to mobilise domestic funds for a national hepatitis B and C treatment programme.