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Nigeria Hepatitis Control Programme takes off.

The National Hepatitis Control Programme implementation has commence in earnest in Nigeria with the inauguration of the Technical Working Group by the Former Honourable Minister for Health, Prof. Onyebuchi Chukwu . The initiatives began when a team led by Prof Barri Blauvelt of the Institute of Global Health, University of Massachusetts visited the Honourable Minister in Abuja to discuss this high burden infection. The  initial Plan for the implementation which covers from 2014 – 2015 has been developed by the TWG  and the National strategic plan now 2016 -2020 . It has six Terms of Reference (ToR) to ensure timely and effective roll out.

In his presentation at the inauguration, Dr. Ayiake Chukuma, Head, prevention component of the programme  gave  background of the disease burden and set of objectives that cut across areas of prevention, surveillance, testing and care, coordination and governance, and social and behavior change communication.Recent report of study by the Epidemiology Division of Federal Ministry of health, says the Hepatitis B virus has a prevalence of 11.2% and Hepatitis C a prevalence of 2.1%.

The group which has it secretariat at the FMOH/HAD office in Abuja, is working out on the development of policy and guidelines for implementation.  Already, a Costed Action Plan 2014-2015, and a draft Protocol and implantation framework is in place, while work is going on the policy and guidelines, and suggested organogram.

According to the Senior Medical Officer in charge of Hepatitis, Dr. Omede Ogu,  of the Federal Ministry of Health Abuja,  an estimated 179,020,488 (all population) are to be screened, while about 71,608,195 will to be immunized (representing 40% of the pop). In addition, Commercial sex workers, MSM, beneficiaries of blood donors, Sickle cell anaemic patient, and patients of organ transplant will be the main beneficiaries.

Dr. Omede further disclosed that, various institutions in both public and private sectors will benefits from the implementation, i.e.  the agencies of government, university research centres, primary health care facilities at the local government levels and the media houses, civil society organizations, faith based organizations and a host of others.


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Salif Audu

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