Former military Head of State, General Yakubu Gowon (rtd), has called for more awareness campaign against hepatitis.
General Gowon who is a goodwill ambassador for the fight against the disease said this on Sunday during a meeting with government officials in Yola, the Adamawa State capital.
He made the demand when he led a delegation of the Federal Ministry of Health, Adamawa State Ministry of Health, and the Yakubu Gowon Centre to flag off the screening and immunisation exercise against hepatitis in the state.
The former military leader was received by the state governor, Mohammed Jibrilla, who was represented by his deputy, Mr Martins Babale, and some members of the State Executive Council at the Government House Conference Centre.
Statistics from the State Ministry of Health has shown that out of the 1500 persons recently screened for the disease, 160 of them were found to be infected – an indication that the prevalence rate in the state is very high.
The data also revealed that 20 million Nigerians are already infected with Hepatitis B, which is about 11% to 15% of the country’s population.
This prompted stakeholders to call for an urgent action to curb the disease, particularly hepatitis B and C as the effect on the country would be enormous if not well tackled.
Joining his voice, General Gowon said: “there is a need, therefore, for government to be able to help to ensure that this disease is fought successfully, especially from childhood.”
He further urged the state government to set up a team in collaboration with the Yakubu Gowon Centre and the local governments, so as to tackle the disease efficiently.
Gowo, who had earlier visited Taraba State for the same purpose, also appealed to all Nigerians of goodwill to help in curing or preventing the disease.
In his response, Mr Babale assured the former military leader that the state government would do everything possible to support the programme.
In their various remarks, the Commissioner of Health in the state, Dr Fatimar Abubakar, and State Coordinator, Presidential Committee on the North East Initiative (PCNI), Hamman Diram, stressed the need to screen pregnant women of the disease.
After the meeting at the Government House, the team proceeded to the Yola Specialists Hospital to monitor the screening and immunisation exercise conducted for some patients at the facility.