The Kashim Ibrahim Fellows (KIF), on Wednesday, took their five-day long awareness campaign against Hepatitis B Virus (HBV) to Sheik Abubakar Gumi Central Market in Kaduna.
KIF, leadership training programme of the Kaduna State Government, on Monday began a five-day community service tagged: “KIF against Hep-B” to educate, sensitise and counsel the public about HBV and how to prevent and spread the virus.
One of the KIF fellow, Mr Abdulhakeem Miko, a human anatomist, explained during the campaign rally at the market, that the measure was necessary to bridge the awareness gap.
Miko said that creating the needed awareness was the entry point for testing to know one’s status, vaccination and ways to prevent contacting and spreading the virus.
According to him, not much will be achieved on curbing HBV prevalence in the country without massive enlightenment campaign to educate the people on the health risk associated with the virus.
“HBV can be transmitted through cuts or pricks from contaminated sharp objects and needles especially among healthcare workers.
“It could also be transmitted through blood transfusion of unscreened blood and blood products and through mucosal membrane of mouth, nose and eyes among others.
“The virus can also be transmitted through semen and vaginal fluid during sexual intercourse, while infected mother can equally transmit the virus to her baby at birth,” he said.
Miko identified individuals at high risk of contracting HBV as infants, drug abusers, hairdressers, barbers using unsterile kits and people who tattoo and acupuncture their bodies.
“Others are sexually active persons and people who share unsterile medical or dental equipment,” he said.
He said that 257 million people were currently infected with chronic HBV across the globe out of which 27.2 million were Nigerians.
“There is no known cure for chronic HBV. This is why we are here today to sensitise as much people as we can about the virus and how to protect themselves from becoming infected,” he said.
The News Agency of Nigeria reports that the KIF had on Monday, sensitised and counselled about 500 students of Kaduna Polytechnic of which 300 were tested.
The KIF also on Tuesday trained 120 hairdressers and barbers on universal precautionary measures and international best practices to curb the spread of the dreaded virus.