Hepatitis is a slow but deadly disease which alot of people take for granted even though it kills faster than HIV/AIDS.
It is the swelling and inflammation of the liver which is most commonly caused by a viral infection. All kinds of hepatitis are debilitating and fatal, therefore it should be taken very seriously. Control and preventive measures should be strategized and implemented if any nation wants to curb the menace that is hepatitis.
The disease is a global health problem affecting millions of people every year, causing disability and death. According to the Nigerian Centre for Disease Control and Prevention, there are about 40 million Nigerians living with chronic hepatitis and many more who are unaware that they even have it; and approximately 1 million people die each year (about 2.7% of all deaths) from causes related to viral hepatitis most commonly liver disease including liver cancer.
In an interview with Dr Yahaya, a consultant at Ahmadu Bello University clinic, he disclosed that there are different types of hepatitis; A, B, C, D, E, F and the most common are hepatitis A, B, and C. He advised that people should all be bothered and worried because little awareness and campaign are being implemented in Nigeria. And of course, the resources both within and from international development partners are meagre compared to other infectious diseases and equally in comparison to the damage the disease is causing to the society.
He disclosed that hepatitis A, is a liver disease caused by the hepatitis A virus. The virus is primarily spread when an uninfected and unvaccinated person ingests food or water that is contaminated with faeces of an infected person. The disease is closely associated with lack of safe water, inadequate hygiene and poor personal hygiene.
Hepatitis B is contracted through the blood of an infected person. It is also spread through unprotected sex. There is also a possibility of contracting it by sharing needles, razor blades, and toothbrush and so on. An infected mother can also pass the virus to her baby during child birth. The disease is not spread by hugging, coughing or sharing food with an infected person. Scientific research has also proven that hepatitis B kills faster than AIDS.
Hepatitis C is a potentially life threatening liver infection caused by hepatitis C virus. It is transmitted through direct contact with infested bodily fluids from an infected person to a susceptible person.
Some of the risks of contracting hepatitis are: Poor sanitation and lack of safe water, injecting drug and living with an infected person,being a sexual partner with someone with high risk sexual behavior and travelling to areas that are highly endemic without being immunized
To curb the menace of hepatitis, the following measures are strongly recommended .Advocacy and raising awareness of all types of viral hepatitis infection will help reduce transmission in the community; government should ensure that safe and effective vaccines are widely available;void direct contact with faeces;safer sex practices including minimizing the number of partners and using barrier protective measures(condoms).
Though these are easier said than done ,all hands must be on deck to improve the life of citizens by reducing the burden that is hepatitis.
Ibrahim Muhammed Sagir