GEN. DR. YAKUBU GOWON GCFR - President Yakubu Gowon Centre has been named by the Federal Government as the Goodwill Ambassador for the elimination of Viral Hepatitis in Nigeria.
Former military Head of State, Gen. Yakubu Gowon, yesterday pledged to join the fight against hepatitis in the country. Gowon, whose foundation, Yakubu Gowon Centre, has been involved in several health and other programmes in the country, promised to help government eliminate the disease through the support of his centre.
He made the pledge in Abuja at the commemoration of 2015 World Hepatitis Day and launch of National Policy for the control of Viral Hepatitis by the Federal Ministry of Health. He said Nigeria was faced with various forms of diseases in the past, which were overcome through concerted efforts of stakeholders.
Defeating hepatitis, he stated, would not be an exception. The youngest and longest-serving military leader in the country also commended all tiers of government for sustaining the fight against polio.
“For the past one year, there has been no record of polio in the country, and in the next two years, the nation shall be declared free of polio,” he said. He informed that Nigeria had the greatest number of hepatitis, “whether it is A, B, C, D or E. I will like to promise that Yakubu Gowon Centre, which I lead, and the Carter Centre as I am involved with them can assist even in other conditions such as river blindness.
I hope I will be able to rope them in, so that we can deal with this disease and any other diseases that is a problem in Nigeria.” He stressed advocacy as a veritable means of defeating the ailment.
“Advocacy for them to know about this disease and test them (the public) for whether they have it or not,” he said, adding that “the Ministry of Health has set up a policy on what do to achieve the result. And, with that one, I am sure, working together, the country would defeat the disease in the foreseeable future