Opinion

St Joseph’s Hospital Marks World Hepatitis Day

. . Gives Free Medical Test to Participants

By Amaka Olua

The Catholic Diocese of Awka owned St Joseph’s Hospital, Adazi-Nnukwu, Anaocha L.G.A Anambra State, August 6, marked her 2019 annual World Hepatitis Day in collaboration with Mega Life Sciences Nigeria Limited. The World Hepatitis Day provides an avenue to educate the public on the symptoms of Hepatitis and its dangers if not treated.

Speaking to people at the event, Doctor Michael Eze, a member of Board of Trustees, Ahuike Health Agency, stressed the importance of health insurance scheme which he said was for the provision of primary health care to the masses. He encouraged the people to register with the health agency so as to enjoy affordable health care service.

He commended the Catholic bishop of Awka, Most Rev Paulinus Ezeokafor, for initiating the Ahuike Health Agency for both the rich and poor to have access to hospital, as well as receiving proper attention when needed.

He maintained that Ahuike Health Agency was established to provide affordable and easy access to health care service for its member. He added that the Church got involved in health care delivery because it was part of her obligation and mandate to care for the well-being of the people.

He encouraged all to key in on the initiative, irrespective of their religion and cultural affiliations. This was even as he maintained that students in the mission school and workers of the church establishment were also beneficiaries of the health scheme.

For her part, the consultant Gastroenterologist, Nnamdi Azikiwe University, Nnewi, Dr Shirley Chukwurah, explained to members of the public the symptom and dangers associated with Hepatitis, stressing the need for regular check-ups to detect the symptoms.

She said that Hepatitis was more dangerous than HIV, and disclosed that three million people across the world were living with Viral Hepatitis. She noted that unless detected and treated it could cause liver disease, cirrhosis and liver cancer. She added that in 2017 more than two million eight hundred and fifty thousand people were diagnosed of hepatitis, and advised all to go for regular checks so as to reduce the occurrence of the ailment.

She added that after Tuberculosis which was the most common cause of death among the people, Hepatitis came a close second. She described Hepatitis as the inflammation of the liver, noting that the causes of hepatitis were many and that it developed at different stages.
She stated that one could contact Hepatitis A and E through eating of non-hygienic foods or foods prepared in dirty environments, even though she said it could be treated.

She reeled out the causes of hepatitis to include beer, gin, palm wine small stout and herbal medicine. She stated that B and C could be contacted through a pregnant woman to her unborn child, saying it was advisable for the pregnant mother to know her status and to know how best to treat it in order not to pass it to her unborn child.

Dr Chukwurah said it could be contacted through infected blood, seminal fluid, vaginal secretions, contaminated I.V. and needles. She however said that Hepatitis B was preventable, noting that there were some medications that could be given to the person for treatment.

She maintained that Hepatitis had a specialist hospital where it could be treated, saying that most doctors were ignorant of the disease. She advised all to go for regular check-ups to avoid being infected, even as she commended the Manager, St Joseph’s Hospital, Rev Fr Jerome Okafor and Mega life Sciences Nigeria Limited, for giving them the opportunity to enlighten the public on the dangers of Hepatitis.

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