The Yakubu Gowon Centre and its partners have embarked on viral hepatitis screening and immunisation of 5,000 persons in Bauchi state.
Our correspondent reports that the exercise which is supported and funded by the Presidential Committee on North East (PCNI) has conducted a screening and immunisation for patients and residents in the Internally Displaced Persons(IDPs) camps, Bauchi Specialist Hospital,Abubakar Tafawa Balewa University Teaching Hospital(ATBUTH),General hospital, Bayara, Ilelah and Kandahar Communities in Bauchi, among others.
Speaking earlier, in an interview with newsmen during the exercise at the Ministry of Health yesterday, the Team Leader, Mr. Nduka Ozor, said the four-day programme was part of President Muhammadu Buhari’s plan for efficient health care delivery services meant for vulnerable Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) and residents in host communities.
He said: “In this pilot phase in Bauchi, the support from PCNI is going to cover 5,000 people, especially health workers, because we realise that there is high prevalence among the health workers and these are the people that are supposed to take care of other patients.
“And you know that viral hepatitis is very infectious, more deadly than HIV/AIDs. In fact, Hepatitis B is more dangerous than HIV. It is important you screen the whole of your household because if you are living with an infected person, you can easily contract the virus. The virus is more stubborn than HIV.”
Continuing, he said: “Our mandate is to cover the whole of the Northeast to do viral hepatitis screening and vaccination. Those who are not reactive, we vaccinate them, give them three shots of the vaccine within three months and that covers them for between 30 and 40 years; that’s for hepatitis.
“Those that are positive for hepatitis C, we begin to initiate treatment, and luckily there’s treatment for hepatitis C, but for hepatitis B, it’s only management, and we are in Bauchi to initiate the process.”
In his remarks, the Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Health, Dr. Saidu Aliyu Gital, thanked the Gowon Centre for the intervention and reiterated the commitment of the state government to support “such laudable intervention and commitment.”
Also speaking, the Medical Representative of Phillips Pharmaceutical Nigeria Limited, one of the partners of Centre at programme, Mr. Ayuba Dawa, said the company “is intervening by supplying all the vaccines and consumables for the exercise.”