Hepatitis is an inflammatory disease of the liver which is commonly caused by viral pathogens and transmittable between humans. This disease, though preventable has plagued populations of the world today with many infected people not even knowing they are infected.  With about 325 million people around the world living with hepatitis and two persons dying every single minute due to this disease, the global community has taken the disease as a challenge of high importance to tackle. As such, the United Nations in 2020 embarked on the campaign ‘Finding the Missing Millions’ to screen, diagnose and treat the missed cases of hepatitis as well as vaccinate whole populations of those not infected.

From awareness campaigns to vaccination programs, Rotaract district 9110 has been contributing her quota to the international campaign. The 28th of July saw the awareness program on hepatitis organized by Rotaract District 9110 with a guest speaker in the person of Dr. Samuel Adegbile. The tweet chat was organized on World Hepatitis day to educate the online community on hepatitis and the importance of getting screened and vaccinated. The organization did not stop there as on the 19th September, the awareness campaign was followed up with a free hepatitis screening and subsidized vaccination program.

Through the leadership of District Rotaract Representative Adedeji Windapo and Rotaract District 9110 Medical Director, PP David Odunsi, Rotaract District 9110 organized the hepatitis screening and vaccination program at H53 Suites, G.R.A Ikeja and it was with immense gratefulness that the organizing team received the venue from the C.E.O of the establishment, Rotarian Lolade Temitope-Ogungbe, who also doubles as the Matron of the Rotaract District 9110. Furthermore, the Rotaract medical team executed the program in collaboration with the Rotarian Action Group on Hepatitis Eradication, Hepatitis Zero World Eradication Project, Mike Omotosho Foundation and Health Drive Ng.

The exercise which took over seven hours was coordinated by Rotr Juliet Okongwu ; the Head of Nursing Services of the District Medical Team. A total of 124 people were screened, which included rotaractors, rotaraians and other members of the general public. In the course of the screening, three people were found to be positive and they were duly counselled and referred for proper management. Following the screening, 121 people were vaccinated. This vaccination was highly subsidized to enable a lot of people to receive lifelong immunity against hepatitis. The recipients were also counseled on the need to follow the vaccination schedule in a bid to prepare them for the next phase of the vaccination program which will take place on the 17th of October which is the due date for the second dose. Considering that not all the recipient would be available on the day of the second phase, they were advised to visit nearby health centres on the due date of the second dose.

The program was extremely successful and the magnanimous men and women who contributed to its success deserve accolades. The program was a reflection of the efforts of the organizers, sponsors, collaborators and volunteers. The project is in line with the Disease prevention and treatment goal of Rotary International as well as in consonance with the goal of the United Nations to build a hepatitis free world. Having the youth of Rotaract District 9110 take up this challenge and champion a project to address it spells a good future for Rotaract, the entire Rotary community as well as the world at large. It is of utmost importance that everyone contribute their quota to keeping the world safe from hepatitis by getting involved in organizing awareness programmes, screening and vaccination exercises. Stopping the spread of a contagious disease like hepatitis relies greatly on our personal and collective efforts. The general public is implored to look forward to the second phase of the hepatitis screening and vaccination project to be organized by Rotaract District 9110 on the 17th of October, 2020 as well as continue to spread the word on the eradication of hepatitis.

Rotr Bola Owate,

Head, Research,Training and Publication,

Medical Team, Rotaract District 9110