FG is working to lower hepatitis test costs, says Ehanire
The Minister of Health, Dr. Osagie Ehanire, has said the federal government is working to lower the cost of hepatitis testing in Nigeria.
This is what Ehanire said while answering a question from The PUNCH during the World Hepatitis Day celebrations in Abuja.
A PUNCH survey shows that an estimated 16 million Nigerians are infected with hepatitis B and 2.2 million with hepatitis C.
Further research also found that few health facilities offer hepatitis testing at subsidized rates.
While emphasizing the need for Nigerians to know their hepatitis status, Ehanire said the federal government was working to reduce fees for hepatitis testing.
He said: “We are aware and we are working to subsidize the price for tests. It is very important that people know their status and they cannot know that until they get tested.
“Viral hepatitis remains a public health disease, with the death rate from both infections still alarming, despite limited global progress in tackling the scourge. There is a low level of awareness, underreporting, underdiagnosis, and undertreatment of hepatitis B and C in Nigeria.
“I would like to acknowledge some encouraging activities by sub-national governments in the fight against viral hepatitis; Lagos and Nasarawa states are funding elements of their program and Taraba and Adamawa states are working with pharmaceutical companies to advance state programs.”
Ehanire said the federal government is committed to the hepatitis elimination plan in the country.