The Gastroenterology Unit of the Lagos State University Teaching Hospital (LASUTH) recently commemorated the 2021 edition of the World Hepatitis Day. Themed “Hepatitis Can’t Wait’, the department did a health walk to create awareness in the community on the essence of quick testing and management of hepatitis.
While shedding light on the theme for the year and what it means, Dr. Cara Cookey, a Consultant Physician and Gastroenterologist in a statement said it refers to the urgency with which the world must act to eliminate the menace called hepatitis because every 30 seconds, a person dies from hepatitis related illness even in the current COVID-19 pandemic. Dr. Cookey further stated that one of the ways to achieve the theme of the World Hepatitis Day is to sensitize the general public to test and know their hepatitis status, by increasing the number of hepatitis screening centers and also by making rapid diagnostic kits readily available.
She further disclosed that Gastroenterologists and Hematologists in Nigeria are not resting on their oars as the Society of Gastroenterology and Hepatology in Nigeria (SOGHIN) has been working tirelessly to advocate for creating awareness for the Nigerian burden of viral hepatitis; seek political will to jointly facilitate prevention, diagnosis and treatment of viral hepatitis.
The Unit engaged in some activities to mark the day which included a courtesy visit to the Management. During the courtesy call Prof. Adetokunbo O. Fabamwo, the Chief Medical Director of LASUTH, harped on the need for health workers to pay attention to screening.
He said that not much attention was given to the hepatitis scourge as AIDS was attended to by multinationals and international bodies; he was however grateful that attention is gradually being given to hepatitis. Prof. Fabamwo made a call for a national action that would have the same strength and empowerment as the action against HIV/AIDS, COVID-19 and Ebola.