July 28th every year is a day set aside to raise awareness and encourage action about the virus called hepatitis. It is also a day to celebrate millions of people worldwide living with hepatitis and still surviving. For July 28th 2022, the World Health Organization tagged the theme as ‘Bringing Hepatitis Care Closer To You.’
According to research, 20 million Nigerians currently live with hepatitis. However, this years theme aims to raise more awareness about the virus and also to bring testing centers closer to rural communities worldwide.
What Is Hepatitis?
According to World Health Organization, hepatitis is an inflammation of the liver that is caused by a variety of infectious viruses and non-infectious agents leading to a range of health problems, some of which can be fatal.
Hepatitis virus has 5 different types, A, B, C, D, E. All of these types affect the liver in the human body, however hepatitis B and C lead to chronic liver diseases and cause more deaths around the world.
Key statistics according to World Health Organization.
• 345 million people globally live with hepatitis B or C infection.
• Almost 3,000 people die from hepatitis B or C everyday.
• 90% of people living with viral hepatitis are unaware that they have it.
• Over 3,000 people die everyday from liver diseases caused by hepatitis.
• 5 million Nigerians lose their lives yearly from hepatitis related complications.
How To Protect Yourself From Hepatitis.
Hepatitis is the inflammation of the liver in the human body. Viral hepatitis can be acute (lasts less than 6 months) or chronic (lasts longer). Viral hepatitis is a communicable virus and it is mostly gotten through sexual intercourse with an infected partner.
Most people recover from hepatitis, but more people die from its complications, as it:
• Destroys the liver tissue
• Weakens the body immune system
• Causes liver disease or cancer
• Leads to death
To protect yourself against getting infected with hepatitis, you should take these precautionary measures:
Avoid having sex with an infected person
Hepatitis B can be transmitted through sexual intercourse. It is transmitted through contact with vaginal fluid, semen or blood. However, using a condom can help protect against it. The best way to protect yourself from getting infected is to avoid having sex with anyone who has any strain of hepatitis.
Always use sterile injections or needles
Sharing unsterilized injections or needles can widen the spread of hepatitis C. To avoid this, it is best to always ensure than only sterilized objects are used to touch your skin in a hospital, clinic or laboratory. Hospitals should also also avoid reusing injections or needles for any reason.
Vaccinating a newborn child against hepatitis
An infected pregnant woman can infect her child with hepatitis if the baby isn’t vaccinated. The best way vaccination works with a newborn is to ensure your child is given the shots 12 hours immediately after he or she is born. The HBIG or hepatitis B vaccine shots can be given up to 4 times to a new born baby to protect them.
Get tested for hepatitis
A major way to protect yourself is to always get tested for hepatitis. If you suspect that you have been exposed to the virus, get tested immediately. You can book a test with us at DRO Health or you can go to a hospital nearest to you to get tested.
Every 30 seconds someone loses their life from an illness related to hepatitis. This years’ theme ‘ Bringing Hepatitis Care Closer To You’ is a wake-up call for people, health agencies, government bodies to bring testing centers and vaccines closer to the people who have no access to basic healthcare.
At DRO Health we are contributing our quota to ensure that we bring care closer to people. To book a test for hepatitis, simply download our app at www.drohealth.com . Click on ‘book a test’ and you have your test done conveniently and at an affordable rate.