Image of Hepatitis

Deadlier than We Think: Hepatitis Getting Less Attention than Required in Nigeria


In the vast landscape of public health challenges facing Nigeria, one silent and deadly threat often gets less attention than it deserves – Hepatitis. While infectious diseases such as malaria and HIV/AIDS have long been in the spotlight, Hepatitis quietly continues to claim lives, causing significant morbidity and mortality across the country.

This article aims to shed light on the urgency of addressing Hepatitis in Nigeria, exploring its prevalence, the lack of awareness, and the potential consequences of neglecting this formidable health issue.

The Burden of Hepatitis in Nigeria:

Hepatitis, an inflammation of the liver primarily caused by viral infections, is a substantial public health challenge in Nigeria. Hepatitis B and C, in particular, pose significant threats. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), Nigeria boasts one of the world’s highest rates of Hepatitis B, with approximately 20 million people grappling with the infection. Hepatitis C is also a cause for concern, affecting millions across the nation.

Lack of Awareness:

A primary reason Hepatitis remains in the shadows in Nigeria is the pervasive lack of awareness. Many individuals are uninformed about the modes of transmission, prevention strategies, and available treatments for Hepatitis. This knowledge gap contributes to widespread virus transmission and delays in seeking medical care. Additionally, the stigma attached to Hepatitis often results in discrimination against those affected, discouraging individuals from getting tested or seeking treatment.

Insufficient Screening and Diagnosis:

Limited access to screening and diagnostic facilities is another critical factor contributing to the underestimation of Hepatitis in Nigeria. Routine testing for Hepatitis is not as widely available as necessary, leading to many cases going undetected until reaching advanced stages. Early detection is crucial for effective management and prevention of complications, but the current healthcare infrastructure often falls short in providing timely screening services.

Consequences of Neglecting Hepatitis:

Neglecting the Hepatitis epidemic in Nigeria comes with severe consequences for public health. Chronic Hepatitis infections can progress to liver cirrhosis, liver cancer, and ultimately, death. The economic burden of treating advanced Hepatitis cases and the loss of productivity due to illness further strain the already limited healthcare resources of the country.

Call to Action:

To combat the Hepatitis crisis in Nigeria, urgent action is imperative on multiple fronts. This includes:

1. Raising Awareness: Launch comprehensive public awareness campaigns to educate the population about Hepatitis, its modes of transmission, and preventive measures.

2. Expanding Screening Programmes: Increase access to affordable and widespread screening facilities to ensure early detection and prompt intervention.

3. Destigmatising Hepatitis: Work towards reducing the stigma associated with Hepatitis through education and advocacy, encouraging individuals to seek testing and treatment without fear of discrimination.

4. Improving Healthcare Infrastructure: Invest in and strengthen the healthcare infrastructure to enhance diagnostic capabilities and treatment options for Hepatitis.


Hepatitis stands as a formidable public health challenge in Nigeria, and its impact can no longer be brushed aside.

By prioritising awareness, expanding screening programs, destigmatising the disease, and improving healthcare infrastructure, Nigeria can take significant strides towards effectively combating Hepatitis and safeguarding the health of its population.

The time to act is now, before the silent killer claims more lives and further strains the nation’s healthcare system.

Stay healthy!