By Jeremiah Archibong
The Cross River State first lady, Dr. Linda Ayade has been inducted as a grand patron of Hope Alive Volunteer Group and honoured with an award of ‘Icon of Hope Alive’.
Also honored was the Chief Medical Director CMD, University of Calabar Teaching Hospital (UCTH), Dr. Thomas Agan. The honors were given yesterday by the volunteer group as part of their activities to mark the World Hepatitis Day in the State.
While speaking the wife of the governor expressed profound gratitude for the award and the induction as well as reiterating the government’s readiness to combat all diseases in the state.
She further revealed that “The government is poised to providing all needed facilities and services to curb hepatitis and other bugs”.
According to her, the celebration is pivotal in the fight against all forms of infirmity even as she described hepatitis as a deadly infection because most carriers are not aware until it reaches grave period, maintaining that as a medical practitioner she’s proud to identify with the group.
The First Lady pointed out that immunization is a key to preventing hepatitis and called on all hands to be on deck to end the menace “the time to stop playing the blame game is now, I urge all of you to spread the message. I join my voice with you”.
Earlier, the Chairman of the occasion, Hon. Ekpo Ekpo Bassey, Chairman Cross River State House of Assembly House Committee on Health opined that hepatitis is more deadly than other diseases as it can lead to other fatal illness if not spotted on time.
According to him, “World Health Organization records that 400 million people world over live with hepatitis unconsciously and 1.4 die yearly. Hepatitis is preventable with regular check up”.
Hon. Ekpo revealed that hepatitis has A, B and C but B and C are more deadly but are preventable adding that the date of the celebration being 28th of every July was selected in honor of the doctor who discovered the illness and produced the first vaccine for it, Dr. Blumberg in the year 1960 because it is his birthday.
He concluded by vowing that as far as he remains the House Chairman Committee on Health, he will stop vigorously pursue legislations that will support all efforts in the fight against killer diseases in the state.
On her part, the Acting Provost of the College of Health Technology, Calabar, Mrs. Mercy Bassey Effiom said the importance of this fight against Hepatitis cannot be over emphasized. She added that if more individuals become aware of the silent dangers of hepatitis it will go a long way in saving lives.
The Acting Provost represented by the Registrar of the Institution, Mrs. Philomina Obaje asserted that the ignorance rate is high which must be curbed by massive awareness campaign else the fatality will be overwhelming.
She pledged that her institution is open to all crusaders of good health as well as her students who are available to volunteer at all times.
Guest Lecturer, Dr. Chenna Okonwo of the Department of Internal Medicine University of Calabar Teaching Hospital, in her lecture “Prevent Hepatitis: It’s Up To You”, disclosed that hepatitis is deadlier that HIV/AIDS and becomes deadly after 30 – 60 days of infection. She revealed that Nigeria is an endemic area for the virus, adding that 70% of Nigerians are unconsciously affected.