Wednesday, 28 July 2021

World Hepatitis Day: Experts advocate for adequate funding to eradicate disease by 2030

 Ukpa Ewa | July 28 2021

AWKA - Health Expert in Anambra are calling on the World Health Organization and other International bodies to look into proper funding to curb and possibly eradicate Hepatitis come 2030. Stating that Universal Health Insurance for persons living with viral hepatitis B and C will go along way if the 2030 target will be met. 

Speaking in an interview with TDN in  commemoration of this year's World Hepatitis Day celebration in Awka, the Executive Secretary of Anambra Health Insurance Agency (ASHIA), Dr. Simeon Onyemaechi said the attainment of Universal Health Coverage is critical for issues surrounding for chronic hepatitis attended to. 

Dr. Simeon Onyemeachi observed that medications commonly used by persons  affected by the viral disease was expensive and out of reach for poor individuals.

"If we are globally serious about it, this issues should be discussed in higher levels where funding commitment can be made and follow through. A lot of funding must go into research and development for cure for hepatitis B"

 Dr. Simeon Onyemaechi
Executive Secretary of Anambra Health Insurance Agency

He also informed that, "Individuals who take the drugs regularly are safe and hardly transmits the diseases But the prices for this drugs are quite high, making drugs accessibility is one of the ways of curbing the transmission." 

He noted that there was lot of funding control programmes for HIV Aids, Tuberculosis, malaria and different diseases but  regretted that hepatitis programmes were been submerged with no special attention given which was now a menace.

"There are prevention of mother to child  transmission of certain diseases but there was no real attempt of having a prevention from mother to child hepatitis B and C" .

The Executive Secretary maintained that hepatitis B and C were chronic and was of great public health importance because they have the propensity to cause chronic hepatitis as well as cancer of the liver Hepatocellular Carcinoma which was now the leading cause of cancer.

Also, hepatitis was a highly infectious disease which most people don't realize and can take people's lives when not treated early.

Its transmission root was similar to HIV transmission gotten via unprotected sex, unsafe blood transfusion, use of unsterilised sharp instruments among others.

"While we look forward to eliminating hepatitis, integrated care, access to vaccination for individuals, composite testing kits should be provided as the disease affects persons of all age group,  in all places" he said.

Meanwhile, the world is tackling eliminating hepatitis by 2030. It becomes apt to have this theme that we have for the year " Hepatitis Can't Wait".