World Hepatitis Day 2021 in Africa
A summary of World Hepatitis Alliance members’ World Hepatitis Day activities in the WHO African region
Celebrating World Hepatitis Day in Africa
Despite restrictions on movement and large gatherings, World Hepatitis Alliance (WHA) members in the WHO AFRO region were able to effectively raise awareness online and in the media. Many members were still able to hold socially-distanced educational, testing and vaccination events.
About hepatitis and the World Hepatitis Alliance in the WHO AFRO region
In Africa, chronic viral hepatitis affects more than 87 million people (78.16 million with hepatitis B and 9.67 million with hepatitis C1). Fewer than 1 in 10 people in Africa have access to testing and treatment2, and coverage of the hepatitis B birth dose vaccine is lower than in any other region in the world1. More than 140,000 people die as a result of viral hepatitis or related complications in the region each year1.
The World Hepatitis Alliance has more than members across 25 countries in the WHO AFRO 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; 2021 [updated on 1 September 2021], Accessed 1 September 2021
- WHA President-Elect Danjuma Adda spoke with BBC Africa on the challenges of living with hepatitis B.
- WHO Regional Office for the African region celebrates World Hepatitis Day on social media.
- Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance and the Gambian Ministry of Health announced they immunised 88% of children in the Gambia with the hepatitis B vaccine in 2019.
- Trainers and Students of Mwambani College of Nursing and Midwifery in Tanzania celebrated World Hepatitis Day by providing education on hepatitis at Maweni Secondary School near the College.
Member activity: Burkina Faso
SOS Hépatites Burkina
SOS Hépatites Burkina held a rally on 28 July in front of the Ministry of Health. They handed over the urgent action declaration document in favor of the elimination of hepatitis to Doctor Wilffrid Ouedraogo, Secretary General of the Minister for Health. They also organised a donation ceremony and free hepatitis B screening at the Hôtel Maternel orphanage in Ouagadougou under the sponsorship of the Minister of Health and the co-sponsorship of the President of the Nazi Boni University and the Director of the MURAZ health research institute.
SOS Hépatites Burkina held a that was attended by the Minister of Health, Mr. Diolompo, and Prof. Alain Bougouma, hepatoligst and the Head of Department of the Digestive Endoscopy Unit at the Yalgado Ouédraogo University Hospital Center.
On 29 July SOS Hépatites Burkina organised a hepatitis B screening and vaccination at the Wend Daabo orphanage in Ziniaré followed by a donation to the orphaned children. They also took the campaign online by participating in the WHA global virtual relay and posting on social media.
Member activity: Nigeria
Aka Ji Ikukuoma Foundation
To convey the urgency of effort needed to eliminate viral hepatitis globally, Aka Ji Ikukuoma Foundation called on their community to join forces and encourage hepatitis testing efforts. They joined the WHA global virtual relay with an educational message on hepatitis.
Beacon Youth Initiative (BYI)
BYI took part in the ‘Hepatitis Can’t Wait’ campaign aimed at conveying the urgency of the need to eliminate hepatitis as a public health threat by 2030. They conducted free hepatitis testing for over 600 people in partnership with SHECA Foundation and Philip Pharmaceutical Nigeria. They also organised an awareness campaign, sensitisation and free hepatitis B vaccination and media briefing in Kwandere and Danka Sarki Community in Lafia Local Government Area of Nasarawa state, Nigeria.
The testing was done as a way of scaling up screening services to ensure that rural communities get access to screening services and treatment. Those tested positive were referred to tertiary health facilities where they can access most of the diagnostic and treatment services. BYI chose the communities in a rural setting because of their lack of access to health facilities. During their assessment, they found out that majority of the people in the chosen communities did not know their hepatitis status.
Care for Social Welfare International (CASWI)
CASWI held an awareness-raising event designed for communities at the Calabar Municipal council and Akampa Local Government Area in Cross River State and in Ago Palace Way, Okota, Lagos State. The events were attended by the Director of Public Health at the Cross River State Ministry of Health and the Cross River State Primary Healthcare Development Agency.
CASWI also took part in WHA’s global virtual relay and the NOhep ‘point to the time’ campaign.
Elohim Foundation marked World Hepatitis Day this year by taking part in the WHA global virtual relay.
To mark Word Hepatis Day, Healthy Livercare ran a large scale ‘Hepatitis Can’t Wait’ medical outreach programme at the the University of Jos, Plateau State. The programme attracted a large number of medical students.
In addition, they engaged online by taking part in the WHA global virtual relay.
LiveWell Initiative (LWI)
Women In Hepatitis Africa (WIHA)
WIHA marked the World Hepatitis by holding online and onsite training and hepatitis B screening and vaccination in Lagos, Nigeria. They also took part in the WHA global virtual relay and the NOhep ‘Point to the time’ activation.
Zemma Awareness Initiative
Zemma Awareness Initiative held a viral hepatitis screening and education event in their community. They tested 53 people and those tested positive were immediately linked to care. Those who tested negative were encouraged to get the hepatitis B vaccine to protect themselves against contracting the virus.
Member activity: Sierra Leone
KnowHep Foundation Sierra Leone
KnowHep Foundation Sierra Leone implemented a two phase campaign to mark World Hepatitis Day divided into two phases:
- Phase one included capacity building of health care workers at community health centres.
- Phase two included the screening of up to 800 pregnant women.
KnowHep Foundation simultaneously conducting research among the pregnant women, and they will be vaccinating babies.
They also marked the day on social media by attending meetings and webinars and taking part in WHA activations.
Member activity: South Sudan
Friends of Humanity
Friends of Humanity held a successful event in Juba City and Turalei Town to raise awareness around World Hepatitis Day. The launched the ‘Hepatitis Can’t Wait’ theme in South Sudan, and it was attended by the Minister of Health and World Health organization Country representative.
In addition, Friends of Humanity marked the day with a ‘Hepatitis Can’t Wait’ football match and a social media campaign to raise awareness of viral hepatitis.
Member activity: Tanzania
Organization For Medical Outreach To Communities (OMOC)
OMOC marked the day bu taking part in the ‘Hepatitis Can’t Wait’ theme and raised awareness of the urgent need to act on viral hepatitis with mobile billboards. OMOC also participated in the WHA global virtual relay.
Member activity: Uganda
Hepatitis Aid Organization
Hepatitis Aid Organization organised a ‘Women Can’t Wait Conference’, a virtual event focused on engaging women to fast-track the multi-sectoral elimination of hepatitis B in Uganda through:
- Advocating for the introduction of the hepatitis B birth-dose,
- Integration of hepatitis B services in maternal health programmes,
- Integration of hepatitis B services in HIV/AIDS program in Uganda.
The conference was attended by Dr. Yonas Tegeng, the WHO country representative in Uganda, Dr. Su Wang, WHA President and Dr. Musoba Nelson, Director General of Uganda AIDS Commission.
Great Lakes Peace Centre
Great Lakes Peace Centre leveraged World Hepatitis Day as an opportunity to screen and test the general population, local construction workers and pregnant women for hepatitis, syphilis and HIV/AIDS. They also conducted a talk show on television about the burden of hepatitis, especially the challenges for people living with hepatitis. Their activities were attended by the local press, celebrities and traditional and religious leaders.
In addition, Great Lakes Peace Centre marked World Hepatitis Day on social media with the ‘Hepatitis Can’t wait’ theme. They also took part in WHA global virtual relay and the NOhep ‘Point to the time’ campaign.
The National Organisation for People Living with Hepatitis B (NOPLHB)
NOPLHB organised a World Hepatitis Day Regional Virtual Symposium, a two days event aimed at bringing together to evaluate the progress on regional elimination efforts by African countries. The symposium was attended by the top regional experts in the field of hepatitis, including Prof. Manal El-Sayed, Dr. Alboraie Mohammad, Prof Ramou Njie, Dr. Mary Afine, Dr. Casimir Mazengo, Dr. Kabore Julien, Dr. Charles Olaro, Dr. Alfred Driwale.
Member activity: Zambia
Hep Initiative Zambia
Hep Initiative Zambia launched an educational online campaign for World Hepatitis Day to combat misinformation and encourage hepatitis testing. They also joined the WHA global virtual relay.