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Find the missing millions on World Hepatitis Day: Over 180 children screened at Ebute Ilaje community, Lagos

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Millions of people around the world are living with the viral hepatitis disease and they are unaware. To raise global awareness of hepatitis, a day tagged “World hepatitis Day” has been dedicated to it, which is the 28th of July every year.

In commemoration with this year’s World Hepatitis Day, The NeoChild Initiative (TNCI), in collaboration with partners – NeoChild Care, Doci Health Care, Communeating(Diet234.com), Smile With Me Foundation, SchoolKits Limited, Fola David Foundation, Health Drive – and crowdfunding from our friends and family, held a health outreach at Ebute Ilaje Community, Bariga, Lagos.

Speaking during the outreach Chioma Nwakanma representing SMILE With Me Foundation emphasized the importance of toilet and hand hygiene in the prevention of hepatitis A and E, which are gotten from Feco- oral contamination. Likewise.she also noted the importance of screening and vaccination in the prevention of hepatitis B.

According to the World Health Organisation (WHO), about 1.3 million people around the world die yearly from viral hepatitis and Nigeria’s health minister, Osagie Ehanire, said on Tuesday that about 20 million Nigerians are chronically infected with hepatitis B and C. This deadly infection can be gotten from unprotected sexual intercourse, sharps, which include sharing of injections by IV drug users, Mother to child transmission, contaminated blood and body fluids. The symptoms of this disease like, malaise, nausea/vomiting, abdominal pain, and yellow of the eyes were also emphasized by the medics.

Other aspects of the outreach included hand-washing sessions and hepatitis B screening. Every child that participated was given a nose mask and the prevention strategies against COVID-19 were emphasized.

Speaking at the campaign, Obehioye Aimiosior, project manager, said there is a need for more awareness and funding for immunization against the viral illness.

“The attention on COVID-19 has caused a shift from other illnesses which are just as serious or even that are even more serious,” she said.

She called on the government and other stakeholders to pay attention to education on hepatitis and vaccination against the disease.

The Acting Team Lead of the medical volunteers, Nimat Anibaba, said two out of the 200 children screened were positive. She said those who tested positive will be referred to the Primary Health Centre in the Local Council Development Area and vaccinated against hepatitis.

Symptoms of Hepatitis are similar to malaria so it is important to screen and get them immunized against the disease in order to get them treated early enough.”

The community of Ebute Ilaje didn’t fail to express their gratitude after the outreach ended. “I just want to say thank you to TNCI for what they have done, for the society and for the (Hepatitis) test”, one of the tested children – Timileyin Omoseun, beamed.

Speaking with one of the mothers of our beneficiaries, she made it known that she wasn’t aware of how deadly the virus can be until we brought the outreach to their doorstep. She further explains that she’ll be much appreciative if this program can be extended to more areas in Lagos State and beyond.

188 children were screened for Hepatitis B and a total of 160 relief packages were given to the members of Ilaje community.

The group called for more awareness on hepatitis as carriers of this deadly disease are most ignorant of the disease which can cause a potential death.

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