Hon. Mrakpor Sponsors Free Medical Screening And Vaccination Against Viral Hepatitis.

The Honourable member representing Aniocha/Oshimili Federal Constituency of Delta State, Hon. Joan Onyemaechi Mrakpor is currently sponsoring a free medical programme to check the prevalence of Viral Hepatitis (Hepatitis B) and cervical cancer.

The first phase of the programme which she is conducting in conjunction with Federal Medical Centre Asaba through Nedikom Resources Nig. Ltd. is geared towards promoting healthcare delivery in the constituency.
It involves the conduct of free medical screening for blood pressure, blood sugar level and vaccination against viral Hepatitis. As at the time of publishing this report, the event which is currently holding at Ubulu Model Primary School Ubulu-Uku, has about 500 men, women and children receiving medical attention.
The medical director of FMC Asaba Dr. Osiatuma Victor Azubuike explained that in this first phase of the programme, only screening and vaccination will be carried out.

"We will only engage in screening and vaccination against viral hepatitis in this first phase. The second phase will involve vaccination of young girls against cervical cancer while the final phase will involve treatment of patients who tested positive during screening, while those with acute cases will be referred to FMC Asaba, " he explained.

However, he maintained that drugs will be distributed to patients with treatable cases at the venue of the screening as Hepatitis has the capacity to lead to blindness or cancer of the liver.
When asked if the event will only take place in Ubulu-Uku, he had this to say.

"Honourable Mrakpor is representing four L.G.As, so we will be in Issele-Uku, Aniocha North Local Government Area opposite the Obi's palace on Tuesday; Ogwashi-Uku Town hall on Wednesday and Ada Anioma Constituency office Asaba on Thursday," the doctor said.
Reacting to the gesture, one of the recipients Mrs. Rosemary Ugbeche thanked Hon. Mrakpor for her untiring efforts towards the welfare of her people.
"Our dear daughter, after she built that General Hospital at Abuedo has not relented in bringing Medical care to our doorsteps. We pray that God will continue to uplift her, " the septuagenarian asserted.

According to a 2016 study conducted by Joanah Ikobah et al., and published by the The Pan African Journal, more than 300 million people have chronic liver infections globally and about 600,000 people die annually from acute or chronic complications of hepatitis B infection. The highest prevalence of hepatitis B infection is in sub-Saharan Africa and East Asia.
Majority of the people in these regions become infected during childhood and between 5–10% of the adult population is chronically infected.

Several studies in Nigerian children have recorded prevalence rates of hepatitis B surface antigen (HBsAg) ranging from 4.1% to 44.7% varying from one locale to another. Some of these studies however were hospital based with obvious limitations and different screening methods were used. The pooled prevalence of HBV in Nigeria from studies carried out between 2000 and 2013 is 13.6% and for children was 11.5%.
HBV prevalence in Nigeria also varied by the screening method used; the result varied from 12.3% by enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay; 17.5% by immunochromatography; and 13.6% by HBV DNA polymerase chain reaction.
HBV infection is thus hyperendemic in Nigeria and may be the highest in sub-saharan Africa.

The seroprevalence of HBsAg among children which serves as a proxy for chronic HBV infection is the first indicator that will be affected by an infant vaccination programme and can therefore be used to monitor the programme's impact over a short term. A vaccine against hepatitis B has been available since 1982. Hepatitis B vaccine is 95% effective in preventing infection and its chronic consequences; it was the first vaccine against a major human cancer.

By; Onwordi Ngozi Fortune.

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