REBUILDING THE NORTH EAST: Over 2000 Persons Benefits from Viral Hepatitis Screening and vaccination in Yobe and Borno State.
By Festus Fifen.
As part of the interventions geared towards the rebuilding of the North eastern states of Nigeria especially as it has to do with their health and wellbeing, Well over 2000 individuals have benefited from the free sensitization, screening and vaccination exercise against viral hepatitis in Yobe and Borno state respectively.
This number cuts across health workers in government owned health facilities and internally Displaced persons in different camps and host communities in both states
The health intervention Programme which is one of the short term components of the Buhari Plan to rebuild the North east ravaged by insurgents is sponsored by the Presidential Committee for North East Initiative PCNI in collaboration with Yakubu Gowon Centre, Moriah Trust Ltd, Philips Pharmaceuticals and Centre for HIV/AIDS and STD Research (CHISTRE) as part of the social stabilization mandate specifically the Rapid Heath Deployment plan which has a target of about 2.4 million internally displaced persons in the 6 states of the north east including Kano within the next 12 months.
According to the PCNI coordinator for Borno and Yobe states Mr. Pindar Kyari Borno and Yobe state is being used as a pilot for the Programme before it will be deployed to the other states in the north east geopolitical Zone affected by activities of the insurgents.
In his words, “our concern is that we start with you the healthcare workers because you are the people moving into those camps and settlements and are the ones exposed to these threats of the disease. we feel that if you really want to fight these diseases you must be vaccinated against it so that you dont end up being infected thereby defeating our purpose of the exercise which is elimination of the disease in the North east and by Implication Nigeria”
Dr. Omede Ogu of the Federal Ministry of Health while stressing the need to get tested and vaccinated against the disease added that the intervention Programme in the north east at this time of rebuilding and the return of internally displaced persons to their homes became imperative because of the prevalent rate of Viral hepatitis in these states which is one of the highest in the country.
Some of the places covered in the pilot phase is the Sani Abatcha Specialist Hospital Damaturu, Mariam Sani Abacha Maternal and child Health care Centre Damaturu, Pompomari Internally Displaced Persons Camp In Damaturu, Kukareta Internally Diplaced Persons host community along Damaturu Maiduguri Road and the State Specialist Hospital Maiduguri Borno state.
Viral hepatitis is an inflammation of the liver caused by one or more of the five major hepatitis viruses, referred to as types A, B, C, D and E; With Types B and C as the most deadly and common in Nigeria.
Research has it that the average prevalence rate for hepatitis B virus in Nigeria ranges between 11- 13.7% which means that approximately about 20 million Nigerians are infected ; a rate that is twice of that of HIV.