Premium Times (Abuja)

30 January 2013

Nigeria: National Orientation Agency Laments Absence of Policy On Hepatitis 'B'

The National Orientation Agency, NOA, on Wednesday, expressed worries over the inability of governments in Nigeria to draw up policies to combat Hepatitis 'B' despite its deadly impact on victims.

The Oyo State Director of the Agency, Femi Mapaderun, who lamented the anomalies in Ibadan at a sensitization programme on Hepatitis 'B' held at the Moniya Headquarters of Akinyele Local Government Area of the State, charged governments at all levels to draw up health policies and programmes that will impact positively on the people.

He said unlike HIV/AIDS pandemics, Hepatitis 'B' is yet to receive the deserved attention from governments in terms of policy action to fight the scourge.

Mr. Mapederun said experts have discovered that the disease "is deadlier than HIV/AIDS", saying that was "one of the reasons why the sensitization programme is very essential".

The NOA Director described the programme as "part of our statutory responsibilities of mobilization, enlightenment and sensitization", adding that it is aimed at drawing the attention of the general public to the harmful effects of the disease.

Also speaking at the occasion, the caretaker committee chairman of the local government, Mukaila Ambali, urged the NOA to sustain the campaign.

"The NOA is once again reminding us that prevention is better and cheaper than cure and that knowledge itself is wealth.

"So, when one has the knowledge of cause, mode of spread, mode of transmission, prevention and control of any infectious disease such as Heptitis B, Typhoid, cholera, HIV/AIDS and others, one is likely not to be effected, because, one will be guarded by the knowledge one already has about the disease.

"Governments at all levels have spent billions of Naira, building hospitals, training health personnel, procure drugs and equipment, buy refuse vans and many more. It is time to get our people informed. Access to health information will put an end to ignorance, break the vicious cycle of ignorance-poverty-disease", Mr. Ambali said.

He also called for cooperation and collaboration among all stakeholders in the health sector, insisting that such attitude is the only way to keep the people safe from health issues.

"All communication channels should be exploited, the radios, Television, Indigenous Channels, Town Hall meetings, opinion leaders, market places etc should be used to pass useful health information that will deliver our people from ignorance leading to diseases," the council boss concluded.

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