In commemoration of the annual World Hepatitis Day, usually celebrated on 28 July of every year, Rotary Club of Gbagada, Lagos, District 9110, Nigeria, in partnership with the Association of Community Pharmacists of Nigeria (ACPN), took hepatitis awareness campaign to three strategic locations in Lagos State, where they screened patients and administered vaccines free of charge.
The hepatitis campaign which took place at the National Secretariat of ACPN, Opebi, Ikeja, Lagos and Gbagada General Hospital, Gbagada Lagos simultaneously on 30 and 31 of July, 2019, will also hold at the New Iju Agege Garage, Agege, Lagos on 1 August, to enlighten and screen hundreds of patients as well as administer vaccines free of charge.
Speaking with Pharmanews at the screening, President, Rotary Club of Gbagada, Lagos, District 9110, Rotr. Akinwale Odutola, said they embarked on the initiative in collaboration with ACPN, as a means of performing their Corporate Social Responsibility for the benefit of citizens in those areas.
According to him, viral hepatitis has remained a major killer of people with a vast majority of patients unaware of their infection status until it becomes chronic or fatal, saying viral hepatitis has been implicated for more death in Africa than those caused by AIDS, Malaria or Tuberculosis.
Speaking further, Odutola further lamented the increase in the number of people with the disease, stating that it is due to the ignorance of the people on its mode of transmission, prevention and treatment.
In a show of gratitude, Rotr. Odutola praised and commended the leadership of ACPN and that of Gbagada General Hospital, for creating an enabling environment for the hepatitis awareness campaign project. He also lauded the efforts of ACPN, for the provision of vaccines and other logistic needs.
Speaking in the same vein, Pharm. Gbenga Olubowale, former chairman, Pharmaceutical Society of Nigeria (PSN), Lagos State Branch, who also doubled as the chairman, Committee on Hepatitis Zero World Eradication Project, Rotary Club of Gbagada, Lagos, District 9110, Nigeria, noted that over 300 million people are living with viral hepatitis unaware worldwide, saying without finding those people, and linking them to care, millions will continue to suffer globally.
Speaking further, Olubowale, a renowned community pharmacist, who is also a key member of Rotary Club, defined hepatitis as an inflammation of the liver, which can either be self- limiting or progress to fibrosis, cirrhosis or liver cancer.
According to him, the theme of this year’s World Hepatitis Day “Find the Missing Millions” is strategic as its coming at a time there is need to create awareness among Nigerians on how to prevent hepatitis spread, saying there is need to act now in order to stop people from dying needlessly from the disease.
Speaking earlier, Pharm. Samuel Adekola, national chairman, ACPN, while admitting that the challenge of eradicating the disease had remained a tall order for mankind, however added that the global search for strategies to subdue the scourge, especially in Nigeria, necessitated the partnership with Rotary Club of Gbagada in order to organize the programme.
Highlighting the challenges currently facing Nigeria in tackling hepatitis, Adekola lamented that the cost of hepatitis test was out of reach of low-income Nigerians, saying many patients had abandoned treatment due to lack of fund or unaffordability of treatment cost.
According to the ACPN boss, the effort put in place by the association in collaboration with Rotary Club, Gbagada, by taking up the challenge to confront the scourge through mass awareness, enlightenment and screening, will yield positive result and as well as reduce the prevalence of hepatitis in the state.