In a recent awareness program organized by Godfrey Okoye University Teaching Hospital (GOUNTH), Enugu, Nigeria, in conjunction with Emzor Vaccines, there was a strong emphasis on the significance of understanding Hepatitis B. This event, held in commemoration of “2023 World Hepatitis Day,” drew attention to the critical aspects of Hepatitis B and C, especially focusing on Hepatitis B.
Hepatitis B: The Silent Killer More Infectious Than HIV
Dr. Adiri Winfred, a consultant Gastroenterologist and Hepatologist with GOUNTH, made it abundantly clear that Hepatitis B Virus (HBV) is 100 times more infectious than HIV. This shocking revelation serves as a wake-up call to the immediate community and the broader global health landscape.
She described it as particularly dangerous due to the fact that it has no cure. While available treatments can reduce the virus, they cannot eradicate it. This lingering characteristic of Hepatitis B, when integrated into a patient’s DNA, makes it extremely difficult to eliminate, underscoring the critical nature of early detection and prevention.
The Growing Threat of Liver Cirrhosis and Cancer
A primary concern with it is its connection to liver cirrhosis and liver cancer, which seems to be a rising issue in many environments. Many people have tragically lost their lives to complications arising from it, prompting a passionate plea from medical experts like Dr. Winfred for governments to assist patients afflicted with the virus.
The program also included free screening for Hepatitis, aiming to enlighten those with symptoms of Hepatitis B to seek treatment promptly.
Transmission of Hepatitis B Virus: A Closer Look
Dr. Winfred further explained that Hepatitis B virus can be transmitted through several means, including:
- Exposure to infective blood
- Sexual contact and other body fluids
- Transmission from infected mothers to infants at birth
- Transmission from family members to infants in early childhood
- Transfusions of contaminated blood
- Use of contaminated injections during medical procedures
- Injecting drug use, playing with sharp objects, and clippers
Recognizing Symptoms of Hepatitis B
Early recognition of symptoms is crucial in managing the situation. The symptoms of both acute and chronic Hepatitis B can include fever, fatigue, loss of appetite, nausea, vomiting, abdominal pain, dark urine, light-colored stools, joint pain, and jaundice.
Prevention Through Hepatitis B Vaccination
The resounding advice from healthcare professionals at the event was the need for Hepatitis B vaccination. In a welcome address, the Chief Medical Director of GOUNTH, Prof. Cajethan Nwadinigwe, highlighted the partnership, public enlightenment, and screening program as a vital step towards a Hepatitis-free Nigeria.
Conclusion: One Life, One Liver
With the theme “One Life, One Liver,” this enlightening event put a spotlight on the crucial need to combat it. Awareness, early detection, proper treatment, and vaccination are essential strategies to fight this deadly virus.
The lessons learned from this event extend beyond the borders of Nigeria and are a clarion call for global awareness and concerted efforts to tackle the situation. Let’s take the cue from these experts and unite in our efforts to understand, prevent, and treat Hepatitis B. After all, every life counts, and every liver matters.