The Federal Government said it had developed a National Strategic Framework for eliminating viral hepatitis in the country by 2030.

The government said the framework was in line with the Global Health Sector Strategy for viral hepatitis control.

Speaking at a press briefing in Abuja on Monday in commemoration of the 2022 World Hepatitis Day, the Minister of Health, Dr. Osagie Ehanire said Nigeria is one of the first counties to have achieved this in a short time.

“You may be aware that in May this year at the 75th World Health Assembly, WHO member states approved a new Global Health Sector Strategy for Viral Hepatitis. I am happy to inform you that Nigeria has in alignment with the new strategy, developed our own National Strategic Framework for Viral Hepatitis aimed at achieving the global target of eliminating viral hepatitis by 2030.

“The core pillars identified for attaining the 2030 target include infant vaccination, prevention of mother-to-child intervention, blood and injection safety, harm reduction, diagnosis, and treatment.

“As a country committed to the elimination of viral hepatitis by 2030, the need to create massive public awareness cannot be overemphasised. Together with this, we need to build the capacity of health care providers, expand access to diagnosis and treatment, and improve community engagement as well as political leadership at all levels,” he said.

Calling on Nigerians to get tested, Ehanire said nearly 20 million people are infected with Hepatitis B or C.

According to him, viral hepatitis remains a public health threat, especially hepatitis B and C, which cause chronic infection with attendant morbidity and mortality.

He, however, said despite the significant rates of infection, there is very low awareness about the infection.

The PUNCH reports that WHP is observed on July 28 annually and this year’s theme is ‘Bringing hepatitis care close to you.’

“The spread of Hepatitis B and C, similar to HIV, is fueled by unsafe sexual behaviour and injection practices, unsafe blood transfusion, harmful practices such as sharing of sharp objects for scarification marks, tattoos, etc, and Mother-to-Child transmission. We acknowledge the need to do much more than ever before to address this,” he said.

He added that the ministry with support from its partners is taking concrete steps to ensure that hepatitis care is indeed brought closer to every Nigerian.

The minister also flagged off the National Hepatitis Awareness Campaign with the theme: Beat hepatitis: get tested, get treated.

“This is a call to every Nigerian to join hands in the effort to eliminate hepatitis. It is a call to every individual to take personal action by getting tested. Also, for collective action in helping to spread the message of prevention, access to vaccination and treatment,” he noted.

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