The World Health Organisation, WHO has warned that dying of viral hepatitis in Africa, is a bigger threat than dying of AIDS, malaria or tuberculosis.

In its first-ever scorecard assessing the prevalence of and response to hepatitis, it said only three of the forty seven countries in region are on track to eliminate the disease. Viral hepatitis affects one in fifteen people in the region.

The scorecard is to be presented at the first African Hepatitis Summit to be held in Kampala, Uganda from June 18 to 20.

WHO Regional Director for Africa Matshidiso Moeti say the analysis is the first to track each country in the region and to assess progress towards the goal of saving the lives of more than two million Africans who may develop progressive hepatitis B or C liver disease in the next decade if countries fail to ramp up their efforts.

The prevalence of hepatitis B is estimated at 5.5% in Nigeria, meaning five in 100 people could have it. That’s more than 9.9 million people nationwide estimated to be chronic carriers of hepatitis B.