Dr. Kolawole Akande of The University College Hospital (UCH), Ibadan, said the hospital detects no fewer than 30 new cases of Hepatitis B on a weekly basis.
The consultant, Gastroenterologist, UCH, made this known during a screening for Hepatitis and public sensitisation exercise held on Sunday in Ologuneru area of Ibadan as part of activities marking the 2019 World Hepatitis Day.
Akande who is a member of the Society for Gastroenterology and Hepatology in Nigeria (SOGHIN), described Hepatitis B as a silent killer with infected people being unaware unless symptoms arise or discovered through blood test.
“The World Hepatitis Day has been on for quite some time and the responses and awareness have increased.
“However, the diagnosis rate for hepatitis is low and a lot of people are living with viral hepatitis without knowing. No one should live with hepatitis without knowing.
“We need to scale-up screening and diagnosis to reduce the number of people who only discover they live with the viral disease until it is too late and complications like liver cancer and eventual death occur.
“According to the World Health Organisation’s statistics, about 20 million Nigerians are living with Hepatitis B while about 1 percent of the population are living with Hepatitis C. Hepatitis B is the commonest in Nigeria,” he said.
The consultant said that Hepatitis B and C viruses were vaccine-preventable.
“Hepatitis C is actually curable and the drugs are available and not expensive while complications in Hepatitis B can be prevented with early diagnosis and treatment.
“This is why we are advocating and encouraging for voluntary screening and increased awareness,’’ Akande said.