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 75 million people (64 million with hepatitis B and 9.7 million with hepatitis C1). Each year, approximately 235,000 people die as a result of viral hepatitis or related complications in the region each year1.
The World Hepatitis Alliance has 25 members across six 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; 2020 [updated on 17 April 2020], Accessed 17 August 2020
World Hepatitis Day news and announcements from SEARO
- WHO South-East Asia Regional Office (SEARO) hosted a #HepatitisFreeFuture webinar
- WHO South-East Asia and WHO Western Pacific published bi-regional training modules on hepatitis B and C screening, diagnosis and treatment
- The Sarwar Foundation and University of Health Sciences Lahore pledged to do free testing and provide free medicines to 1 million patients in Pakistan by 2021
Member Activity: Bangladesh
National Liver Foundation of Bangladesh
The National Liver Foundation of Bangladesh marked this year’s World Hepatitis Day with the ‘Find the Missing Millions’ campaign. This hybrid digital-physical campaign included a webinar, branded face mask dissemination, as well as coverage on social and in traditional media.
Amid the COVID-19 pandemic, the foundation made ‘Find the Missing Millions’ branded face masks, brochures and placards. Over a 1000 branded masks and brochures were distributed to pedestrians in Dhaka city on 28 July in order to raise awareness of viral hepatitis.
Their World Hepatitis Day 2020 Webinar discussed different aspects viral hepatitis control strategy, barriers, overcoming challenges, the impact of COVID-19 pandemic on hepatitis and the 2030 hepatitis elimination goals in Bangladesh and the world. The event was attended by representatives of many relevant organisations, including the National Liver Foundation of Bangladesh, World Hepatitis Alliance, The National Organization for People Living with Hepatitis B (NOPLHB) of Uganda, the Association for the Study of the Liver Diseases, Bangladesh Armed Forces, Hepatology Society of Dhaka, Bangladesh and the Bangladesh Gastroenterology Society.
Member Activity: Indonesia
Budi Lukmanto Foundation
Budi Lukmanto Foundation participated in the ‘Find the Missing Millions’ campaign and shared their efforts to increase testing and find the missing millions. They also participated in the WHA Virtual Relay.
Leading up to World Hepatitis Day, the foundation visited a local orphanage where they screened and immunised children and adults against hepatitis B virus.
Member Activity: Myanmar
Liver Foundation Myanmar
The Liver Foundation Myanmar marked the day with an online event attended by the Ministry of Health of Myanmar, Myanmar National Health Commission Office, WHO, WHA and Community Partners International.
As a part of this event, the Foundation screened a short ‘Find the Missing Millions’ campaign inspired video prepared by WHO, Ministry of Health and Sports and Myanmar Liver Foundation.
In addition, the foundation representatives participated in the City FM Radio Station “Health Education Talk” episode about hepatitis.
Member Activity: India
Chennai Liver Foundation
To mark World Hepatitis Day this year, Chennai Liver Foundation released an awareness-raising song! The song features beautiful vocals from an award-winning singer Uthara Unnikrishnan.
They also launched an awareness-raising campaign ‘5ight Hepatitis’ aimed at raising awareness around 2030 elimination goals. The campaign features its own ‘Find the Missing Millions’ video, and an online movie competition for college students CARPE DIEM.
United Way Mumbai
To commemorate World Hepatitis Day and raise awareness about viral hepatitis, United Way Mumbai (UWM) carried out an online campaign through a peer-to-peer health educator’s training webinar on community health challenges of hepatitis B and C.
In July 2020, they conducted 8 online training sessions on ‘Key aspects of Viral Hepatitis’, which were attended by more than 300 participants. These trained participants include college youth, college professors, NGO staff working with prison inmates, waste collectors, and other high-risk populations.
UWM World Hepatitis Day webinar focused on community health challenges surrounding hepatitis B and C. More than 220 participants representing over 30 NGOs and 20 colleges including health care professionals, college professors, undergraduate students, and NGOs working with high-risk populations attended this session. The webinar emphasized the importance of all the stakeholders working together to increase knowledge through training sessions, spreading awareness among the community members through group discussion, spreading information about hepatitis through the various social media platforms. It also addressed the need to work towards finding the missing millions and reaching the goal of eliminating viral hepatitis by 2030.