World Hepatitis Day 2020 in South-East Asia

A summary of World Hepatitis Alliance members’ World Hepatitis Day activities in the WHO South-East Asia region

Celebrating World Hepatitis Day in South-East Asia

Despite restrictions on movement and large gatherings, World Hepatitis Alliance (WHA) members in the WHO SEARO region were able to effectively raise awareness online and in the media. Some members were still able to hold scaled-back and socially-distanced educational, testing and vaccination events. Others thought outside the box to host innovative online events and campaigns.

About hepatitis and the World Hepatitis Alliance in the WHO SEARO region

In South-East Asia, chronic viral hepatitis affects almost 80 million people (68.9 million with hepatitis B and 10 million with hepatitis C1). Each year, approximately 207,000 people die as a result of viral hepatitis or related complications in the region each year1.

The World Hepatitis Alliance has 26 members across seven countries in the WHO SEARO 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

World Hepatitis Day news and announcements from SEARO

  • Dr Poonam Khetrapal Singh, WHO Regional Director for South-East Asia called on the countries in the region and across the world to accelerate the hepatitis response and achieve our time-bound targets and goals.
  • WHA Chief Executive Cary James and the Chennai Liver Foundation were featured in Times of India and The Hindu with the messages about ‘Hepatitis Can’t Wait’ campaign.

Member Activity: Bangladesh

National Liver Foundation of Bangladesh 

The National Liver Foundation of Bangladesh marked this year’s World Hepatitis Day with the ‘Youth can’t wait – Bangladesh online roundtable discussion’. This webinar, organised in collaboration with the Bangladesh Medical Students’ Society (BMSS) looked at how young people and medical students can work together to achieve hepatitis elimination.

The webinar was attended by hepatologists, gynaecologists, women health organisations, the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) and the Bangladesh Medical Students Society. The National Liver Foundation of Bangladesh also took part in WHA and NOhep activities, including the global virtual relay and the NOhep ‘Point to the time’ campaign.

Member Activity: India

Chennai Liver Foundation 

To mark World Hepatitis Day 2021, Chennai Liver Foundation organised a virtual conference to raise awareness of the urgent need for hepatitis elimination. The conference featured Cary James, WHA Chief Executive as a keynote speaker.

They also took part in the WHA global virtual relay and the NOhep ‘Point to the time’ activities.

Asian Liver Foundation 

The Asian Liver Foundation marked the day by holding a hepatitis awareness walk and providing free testing and vaccinations service. They distributed educational pamphlets to the local community and walked together holding ‘Hepatitis Can’t Wait’ slogans. The crowd was addressed by Minister of Health, Mr. Ashok Choudhary. Later they administered the hepatitis B vaccine to the most in-need populations.

Member Activity: Indonesia

Budi Lukmanto Foundation

Budi Lukmanto Foundation had plans to carry out hepatitis screening in a local orphanage, however, due to the COVID-19 pandemic they were not able to visit the orphanage in person. In place of the screening, the foundation workers held a zoom meeting with children from boarding schools and orphanages, educating them about hepatitis.

Budi Lukmanto Foundation participated in the ‘Hepatitis Can’t Wait’ campaign by adapting social media materials to Indonesian, and took part in WHA global virtual relay.

Member Activity: Myanmar

Myanmar Liver Foundation

Myanmar Liver Foundation marked World Hepatitis Day 2021 by joining the WHA global virtual relay.

Member Activity: Tibet

Altruism in Action 

Altruism in Action, in collaboration with “The Tibet Fund”, organised an awareness raising and education programme within the Jangthang Tibetan community and encouraged early detection and treatment of hepatitis B.

Hepatitis B is a is a major public health concern in the Tibetan community, and the education programme aimed to increase their knowledge of hepatitis B and the possible complications.

Explore other regions' WHD activities