NGO Campaigns for separate budget for treating viral hepatitis B and C

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From LILIAN HOSEA, Abuja

The center for Initiative and Development (CFID) in Jalingo yesterday organized a workshop on increasing the capacity of health care providers and viral Hepatitis B and C testing, prevention and linkage to care in Taraba and Adamawa states.

Experts in the health sector urged the Federal and state governments to propose a separate budget for viral hepatitis B and C in order to give it the much-needed attention.

Prof Orkurga Malu, a Professor of Medicine and Gastroenterology with the University of Jos said the viral hepatitis scourge needed a line budget so that there would be enough funds to embark on an aggressive awareness campaign on the menace.

According to Malu, a line budgetary allocation for viral hepatitis would go a long way in addressing issues of lack of funds thereby helping in reducing the effect of the disease among Nigerians.

Dr. Ruth Bello the Chairperson, Nassarawa state Action Committee on AIDS explained that men were more prone to infection of viral hepatitis, saying women had hormones that protect them to a certain degree.

Dr. Adesigbin Clement, the National Desk officer, Viral Hepatitis, also said hepatitis B was 100 times more infectious than HIV/AIDS noted that a line budget for the virus would help tackle the scourge.

Clement said over 16 million Nigerians were infected with viral hepatitis B, accounting for 11 percent national average while Taraba had the prevalent rate of 19 percent. Dr Obadiah Musa, the Permanent Secretary Taraba Ministry of Health said Taraba was making concerted efforts to tackle the high rate of the scourge.

Musa explained that previous administrations in the state neglected issues of viral hepatitis until the coming on board of Gov Darius Ishaku.

Mr Danjuma Ada, the Chief Executive Officer of CFID said the workshop was a dream come true for the organization.

Ada added that the 120 health workers receiving training were expected to go back to their various hospitals and help in handling viral hepatitis issues with expertise.

According to him, the training was going on simultaneously with the free testing of 25, 000 persons from Adamawa and Taraba.

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