Stakeholders hail AU, ALPA free hepatitis intervention




Dr. Gaza Gwamna, Nasarawa state commissioner for health (L) and Dr. Ibrahim Adamu, Director, Public health, Nasarawa state ministry of health(R) during their assessment of the free hepatitis treatment organised by AUSTRC in partnership with ALPA ongoing in Shabu community, Lafia for indigenes of Nasarawa state


Nasarawa State Health sector stakeholders have commended the AU Scientific, Technical and Research Commission (AU-STRC), African Scientific Research and Innovation Council (AU-ASRIC) and African Liver Patient Association (ALPA) for the free hepatitis intervention.

The intervention includes free counseling, free testing, free treatment, free drugs and free vaccination in Shabu community in Nasarawa State.

Dr Ibrahim Adamu, Director, Public Health, Nasarawa State Ministry of Health praised AU and ALPA for adopting an approach that brings hepatitis treatment and care closer to the communities.

Adamu, in an interview with newsmen on Friday in Shabu, Lafia said that eliminating viral hepatitis was a task that must be accomplished and Nasarawa State was prepared and open to partnerships.

He said the high cost of treating hepatitis had deterred some of those diagnosed with the disease, especially those in the rural areas from seeking medical solutions.

Adamu added that an awareness of hepatitis could lead to early detection which is life saving.

“ As a state, we are addressing these challenges through our elimination strategy which is guided by four principles — plan wisely, test smart, cure-all, and prevent new cases.

“It is a pilot project in Nigeria, which included sensitization sessions and trainers were trained so that the work continues, the aim of the intervention is not for the work to stop,’’ he said.

Adamu added that the elimination plan focuses on the optimal deployment of resources for case finding, ensuring treatment for identified patients, and rollout of prevention strategies in areas with higher transmission rates.

On his part Dr Gaza Gwamna, Nasarawa State Commissioner for Health commended all stakeholders including international partners like AU, ALPA for strategizing towards combating hepatitis.

“We know that the government alone cannot tackle the burden of viral hepatitis” he said.

He complimented the partners for ensuring that persons confirmed to be positive were undergoing free treatment and giving free vaccination to negative cases.

According to him, “Sensitization on preventive measures and creating access to care and treatment was a crucial part of the programme,’’ he said.

The Executive Director Nasarawa State HIV/AIDS Control Agency, Dr. Ruth Bello, called for awareness on hepatitis adding that “Hepatitis C remains curable.

She commended the free testing and treatment given to everyone who came to the venue of the intervention in Shabu.

“ Everyone that was here got tested and treated and sensitized on how to stop the spread.

“ There have also been collective efforts with the partners and the State to ensure that hepatitis diagnostics and curative treatments are readily available,’’ she said.