World Hepatitis Day 2020 in the Eastern Mediterranean
A summary of World Hepatitis Alliance members’ World Hepatitis Day activities in the WHO Eastern Mediterranean region
Celebrating World Hepatitis Day in the Eastern Mediterranean
Despite restrictions on movement and large gatherings, World Hepatitis Alliance (WHA) members in the WHO EMRO region were able to effectively raise awareness online and in the media. Many members held webinars and other virtual events to commemorate the day.
About hepatitis and the World Hepatitis Alliance in the WHO EMRO region
Hepatitis affects more than 27 million people in the Eastern Mediterranean, with 16.1 million people living with hepatitis B and more than 11 million living with hepatitis C1. More than half (15 million) of these cases of hepatitis occur in Pakistan2. Coverage of the hepatitis B birth dose vaccine is approximately 36 per cent1. More than 75,000 people die as a result of viral hepatitis or related complications in the region each year1.
The World Hepatitis Alliance has 31 members across eight countries in the WHO EMRO region. These members work tirelessly to advocate for hepatitis elimination, to raise awareness, and to deliver testing and vaccination services in a range of contexts. You can find out more about them on the World Hepatitis Alliance’s website.
1 Data: CDA Foundation’s Polaris Observatory; 2020 [updated on 17 April 2020], Accessed 17 August 2020
- The World Health Organization’s regional director for Eastern Mediterranean Region, Dr. Ahmed Al-Mandhar, published a World Hepatitis Day message
- WHO Regional Office for the Eastern Mediterranean published a regional update for viral hepatitis B and C
- The Ministry of Public Health of Qatar implemented national hepatitis awareness-raising campaigns and early screening campaigns for hepatitis C
Member Activity: Egypt
Association of liver patients care – Dakahlia (ALPC)
Association of liver patients care – Dakahlia (ALPC) marked World Hepatitis Day with an event held at the Egyptian Liver Hospital in Sherbin. As a part of the ‘Find the Missing Millions’ campaign, the event was aimed at increasing awareness among the nursing staff of detecting potential cases, and educating them about hepatitis risk behaviours. ALPC highlighted that the goal of celebrating the day is to remind people of the danger of hepatitis viruses, and to fight and eliminate them through awareness.
The event included:
- Sharing flyers and posters from the WHA after creating their own messages;
- Distribution of promotional shirts with the WHO slogan;
- Providing awareness messages about recommended behaviors to combat hepatitis and break the social stigma caused by it.
Member Activity: Lebanon
Social workers’ Syndicate in Lebanon (SIDC)
To mark 2020 World Hepatitis Day, SIDC promoted the services of their sexual health clinic while continuing to encourage testing in an effort to find the missing millions. They also shared a video to raise awareness about the risk of getting contracting hepatitis B and C through sharing drug paraphernalia.
Member Activity: Yemen
WHF Yemen participated in the World Hepatitis Day video relay to raise awareness of the disease. In addition, they marked the day with participation in online events and a ‘Find the Missing Millions’ social media campaign.
Member Activity: Pakistan
Zhwandoon Welfare Organisation
Zhwandoon Welfare Organisation held an educational event in Peshawar, Pakistan to raise awareness about viral diseases in the community, teaching people about different types of hepatitis, and highlighting their impact on community health.
The event was organised in collaboration with the different health organisations working for the hepatitis control program. Notable attendees include former Minister of Social Welfare Sikander Sherpao and Deputy Secretary at Ministry of National Health Services, Regulations and Coordination Ashgar Ali.