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Tuesday, January 12, 2016

Dakar to host Africa Hepatitis Summit’16

Leading African and international public health experts, patient representatives, policymakers and physicians will convene in Dakar, Senegal, to discuss and better understand the burden of hepatitis B and C in Africa, NaijaAgroNet reports.

African countries, NaijaAgroNet gathered, have some of the highest rates of chronic viral hepatitis in the world - it is estimated that more than 30 million people in the Africa region are living with hepatitis C alone.  Awareness of viral hepatitis is low, and access to screening and treatment is currently limited in most countries.

The African Viral Hepatitis Summit 2016, sponsored by Gilead Sciences would provide a forum to discuss the latest in viral hepatitis B and C research, including surveillance, prevention, treatment, service delivery and policy issues.

“The hepatitis B or Cepidemics continue to grow across the continent, and are becoming a serious public health issue,” said summit co-chair Danjuma Adda, World Hepatitis Alliance Executive Board Member for the African Region, stressing this summit is very timely and will benefit all those working to establish a public health approach to preventing and treating these diseases.

Also speaking, summit co-chair and Professor at the University of Cheikh Anta Diop in Dakar, Souleymane Mboup, said “This summit presents a rare opportunity for a broad range of groupsto share perspectives on this significant public health problem,” pointing out that sharing research, policy and programmatic insights from across Africa will be enormously helpful to those on the ground working to help people living with or at risk for viral hepatitis.

Viral hepatitis is inflammation of the liver caused by a virus. There are five different hepatitis viruses - hepatitis A, B, C, D and E. All of these viruses cause short term, or acute infection. The hepatitis B and C viruses can cause long-term infection, called chronic hepatitis, which may lead to life-threatening complications such as cirrhosis (liver scarring), liver failure and liver cancer.

Isaac Oyimah/GEE

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