The Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA) has indicated that professional seafarers with hepatitis virus would no longer work onboard vessels operating within Nigerian territorial waters.
This was disclosed recently in Lagos at an event organized by the agency to mark “World Hepatitis Day” celebration.
Speaking on the theme “Eliminate Hepatitis, Find The Missing Millions”, Head, Health Services, NIMASA, Dr. Anslem Nwoeze called on seafarers and dockworkers to work closely with the agency in addressing the ailment.
The health expert noted that millions of people world over live with the scourge unaware and most of them fail to avail themselves for diagnosis.
According to him, millions of people may continue to suffer from the disease unaware except medical checkups are conducted to ascertain the status of the affected persons.
He therefore called on stakeholders in the maritime industry to be part of the business of creating awareness and further enhancing themselves by finding lasting solutions to the ailment.
“Our attention is being drawn to the multitude of sufferers through the pain to eliminate hepatitis .We know that there are mirage of health issues and for seafarers in particular hepatitis is definitely significant because millions of people leave with this scourge unaware.
“Also career seafarers with hepatitis b virus cannot work onboard until they are satisfactorily treated. Therefore, as we mark the World Hepatitis Day ,we call on you to be ready to take action through this awareness we are going to create ,sit back and learn more about this ailment ,”he said.
Also speaking, Director General of NIMASA, Dr Dakuku Peterside reiterated the agency’s commitment to create awareness on the scourge adding that the event was targeted at the Nigerian seafarers and dockworkers to boost the Nigerian economy.
The Director General who was represented by the Director, Maritime Labour and Cabotage Services, Alhaji Ibrahim Jibril said the seafaring profession contribute immensely to global economic; pointing out that with a healthier environment the world economy would yield positive results to economic development.
Meanwhile, he noted that over 20 million Nigerians are unaware that they have suffering from the condition and that number falls under the missing millions that the awareness exercise aimed at interacting with.