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Viral Hepatitis: Vaccination, Testing Key To Preventing Transmission – Expert

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The Lead Advisor, HIV/AIDS Programme, African Epidemiology Network (AFENET), Dr. Adebobola Bashorun, said that laboratory or rapid test screening for Viral hepatitis was the best way of preventing and monitoring transmission. This, he said should be a must for pregnant women attending antenatal clinic, adding that Administration of ant Hep. Human immunoglobulin on babies of mothers with Hep B Surface antigen positive reduces transmission to babies. Dr. Bashorun also said that the use of hepatitis vaccine will be of tremendous help to reduce transmission in the general populace. “Once you can stop transmission, you have less number of new cases and hence subsequent transmission is reduced. If and when there is adequate coverage of immunisation, there will be adequate herd immunity to halt transmission and this is a continuous cycle,” he stated.

The expert reiterated the essence of prevention saying the cost for treating chronic hepatitis is huge, especially when it is tending towards its complication or advanced stages. According to him, the poor cannot sustain its management and there is a need to make treatment accessible and affordable for all while also identifying expensive tests and even late presentation for care by the patients as part of the issues. He therefore urged government and other agencies to have more focus on hepatitis just as they have done for HIV.

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