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Expert advises regular checkups to avoid Hepatitis B, C

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Dr Rose Ugiagbe, the Consultant Gastroenterologist, Department of Medicine, University of Benin Teaching Hospital (UBTH) has advised people on regular check-up to avert hepatitis B and C infection.

Ugiagbe gave the advice during an awareness programme to mark the World Hepatitis Day at the General Practice Clinic of UBTH on Monday.

The theme of the programme: “Investing in Eliminating Hepatitis’’ aims to raise global awareness of Hepatitis A, B, C, D and encourage prevention, diagnosis and treatment.

“We are actually interested in Hepatitis B and C, because they are likely to become chronic.

“When it becomes chronic, a patient that has it, starts developing liver failure or liver cancer,’’ she said.

According to her, majority of people who have hepatitis B and C are not aware of the deadly disease.

She said that viral hepatitis B and C affect 325 million people worldwide causing 1.4 million deaths annually.

According to her, it is the second major killer infectious disease after tuberculosis, and nine times more people are infected with hepatitis than HIV.

Ugiagbe said hepatitis is preventable, treatable and in the case of hepatitis C, it is curable.

“Over 80 per cent of people living with hepatitis are lacking prevention, testing and treatment services.

“WHO will release new estimates for additional investments needed to achieve globally agreed hepatitis elimination goals by 2030, in the context of the universal health coverage,’’ she said.

Ugiagbe said patients might have no symptoms but might  have pain in the abdomen, fatigue, loss of appetite, malaise, fluid in the abdomen or nausea, web of swollen blood vessels in the skin or yellow skin and eyes.

She commended members of Society for Gastroenterology and Herpetology in Nigeria (SOGHIN), Mega Life Sciences and Health Line Ltd. for supporting the awareness programme.