World Hepatitis Day: Foundation urges free, accessible vaccination

MISS Health Foundation, a Non-Governmental Organisation (NGO) has urged the Federal Government to make Hepatitis vaccine free and readily available in hospitals across the country.

Nick Bebiem, Founder of the foundation, made the call during free screening, vaccination outreach to mark the World Hepatitis Day at a community in Asokoro, Abuja on Sunday.

World Hepatitis Day is a UN observance day celebrated annually on July 28 to raise awareness on the dangers of the disease, its symptoms and available treatment options and this year has “Find the Missing Millions” as its theme.

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Hepatitis is a viral infection that attacks the liver and can cause both acute and chronic diseases, commonly transmitted from mother to child during birth, as well as through contact with blood or other body fluids.

Bebiem, therefore, said it was high time hospitals, especially federal and local government health centres, made the vaccine free and accessible to all.

He added that after a survey in some hospitals in the country, Miss Health Foundation discovered that the Hepatitis vaccine was available only once or twice in a week in some hospitals.

He explained that the availability and wide circulation of the Hepatitis vaccine would help to reduce the spread of the ailment, noting that it was necessary to raise awareness on its dangers.

Listing the five types of Hepatitis as A, B, C, D and E, he explained that “Hepatitis B has no cure and is the deadliest so it is advised that people should get the vaccination when due.”

Dr Ajis Eleazar, the Executive Director, Malady Chase Foundation, an NGO, also said that because Hepatitis B Virus (HBV) and Hepatitis C came with little or no symptoms, it was necessary to get vaccinated to prevent spread.

He said the vaccine should be free as that would encourage citizens to get tested, know their status and get vaccinated.

He added that “Hepatitis B and Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) have the same mode of transmission.

“When you place the blood of a person living with HIV on a surface and place that of Hepatitis B on a different surface, the virus in the HIV blood dies before that of the HBV carrier.

“Many people are ignorant of how deadly Hepatitis is, and that’s why we preach prevention rather than cure.”