In the world today, out of 325 million people living with viral hepatitis B and C (HBV and HCV), more than 290 million are not even aware of their status, as reported by World Hepatitis Alliance. It is important to note that without massive increase in diagnosis, treatment rate will fall, infection rates will rise and the possibility to eliminate viral hepatitis may seem far-fetched.
Every 28th of July marks the World Hepatitis Day which is dedicated to raising global awareness of the viral liver disease, Hepatitis. Hepatitis, an infectious disease, brings about inflammation of the liver and several other liver problems, including cancer. Hepatitis has a number of strains of virus causing various types of the disease— Hepatitis A, B, C, D, and E.
With such a high number of people living with Hepatitis unaware, TNCI has embarked on the quest to "Find The Missing Millions". This year is geared towards awareness via massive scale-up in diagnosis. This is to ensure that people living with the deadly viral disease are aware, so as to get treatment, reduce incidence and prevalence of disease, and ultimately eradicate hepatitis by 2030
Presently, the global effort against Hepatitis is focused on HBV and HCV as they contribute the largest (1.3 millions death worldwide every year) to the disease's overall mortality rate which tellingly threatens the public health. The unavailability of vaccine for HCV may also justify why they attract much interest. Africa is the second region most affected by HBV , with 6.1% of its adult population infected. Therefore, the need for this search becomes more urgent. Beyond confirming the result of screening, regular testing provides medium for enlightenment of those that have little or no knowledge about Hepatitis, thereby lowering the tendency of its spread.
In the progressive efforts to eradicating Hepatitis, vaccination against type A and B is recommended for infants up till the age of 18. But only 42% of children, globally, have access to the birth dose of the vaccine. Vaccine is however also recommended for adults in high-risk groups, which may include diabetic patients and several other people whose lifestyle, job and living situations could be putting them at a higher risk.
Incidentally, these staggering number of missing cases strongly indicates poor testing in those regions of the world that are heavily impacted by Hepatitis. Thus, The NeoChild Initiative has taken a cue from this revelation and will be flagging its World Hepatitis Day campaign on 28th July 2020, at Ebute Ilaja Community, Bariga Local Government, Lagos – where children in this community aged 6-18 years will be provided with:
Free Hepatitis B screening and other activities such as:
Health Education and;
Sharing of Relief Packages
Moreover, TNCI uses this medium to encourage everyone to get vaccinated and go for regular Hepatitis screening at the nearest health centers around them so as to ensure their own safety and every other person's. By so doing, we will be helping to easily find and even save those missing millions in time.