President, African Helicobacter and Microbiota Study Initiative, Professor Stella Smith, says that 50 percent of the world’s population, Nigerians inclusive, is infected with helicobacter pylori, an organism that can cause gastric disorders, including peptic ulcer disease, gastritis and gastric cancer, but its diagnosis and treatment in Nigeria is poor.
Smith, who spoke at the official presentation of the African Helicobacter and Microbiota Study Group (AHMSG) at the Nigerian Institute of Medical Research (NIMER), Lagos, said that the World Health Organisation as far back as 1994 had categorised helicobacter pylori, a bacteria that infects and colonises the human intestine, a Class 1 carcinogen.
Smith, the Director of Research at NIMER, stated that in Africa, helicobacter pylori as a disease-causing germ remains more or less neglected even though researchers, policymakers and governments in America, Europe and Asia had paid keen attention to its diagnosis, treatment/management and possible control.
She said: “More attention has over time been given to malaria, HIV & AIDS, TB, maternal and child health and in recent times SARS-Cov-2 (COVID-19). This does not imply that H. pylori are not ravaging and causing a lot of health challenges on the continent.”
“In a review we published in the World Journal of Gastroenterology 2019 on infection with H. pylori and challenges encountered in Africa, it was revealed that the prevalence of H. pylori infection in Africa was as high as 80 percent.”
“It could be higher because some regions lack actual prevalence data and there was no African guideline as compared to the Maastricht V/Florence Consensus of Europe, American College of Gastroenterology (ACG) clinical guidelines, Toronto consensus, Asia-Pacific consensus or the Chinese national consensus.”
Vice chancellor, University of Lagos, Professor Oluwatoyin Ogundipe, speaking through Professor Oluwole Familoni, said that unlike other disease-causing germs of bacterial origin that takes seven days to treat, H pylori infection treatment goes for almost one month.
He said the outputs from the group would bring succour to patients suffering from problems caused by H.pylori and capacity is built in the research, diagnosis and treatment of the problem in Nigeria.
Vice chancellor, Mountain Top University, Professor Elijah Ayolabi, represented by Professor Anthony Afikuyomi, declared that the initiative is timely with the rising prevalence of antimicrobial resistance and treatment failures with antimicrobial agents in Africa.
@ Nigerian Tribune