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90 million people living with the Hepatitis in Africa– WHO : TV360 Nigeria

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The World Health Organisation (WHO) has described Hepatitis as a silent epidemic with more than 90 million people living with the disease in Africa, representing 26 per cent of the global total.

WHO Regional Director for Africa, Matshidiso Moeti, disclosed this in her message to commemorate World Hepatitis Day on July 27, themed “Hepatitis can’t wait”.

Moeti said more than 124,000 Africans die each year as a result of undiagnosed and untreated hepatitis.

The WHO director added that around 4.5 million African children, under five years, were infected with chronic hepatitis B, reflecting an enormous 70 per cent of the global burden in that age group.

According to Moeti, the disease inflames the liver and can lead to liver cancer and cirrhosis, calling on all countries to rapidly improve access to services to prevent, diagnose and treat the disease.

Moeti said that the global target of less than 1 per cent incidence of hepatitis B in children under 5 years has been reached, but the African region was lagging behind at 2.5 per cent.

She said that most of such cases could be prevented by eliminating the Mother-To-Child Transmission of the disease, during or shortly after birth and in early childhood.

Moeti, therefore, encouraged countries to integrate the hepatitis B Prevention of mother-to-child transmission (PMTCT) programmes in the ante-natal care package together with the HIV and Syphilis PMTCT programme.



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