Spreading the word about hepatitis


One of the new hepatitis experts of the ACCELERATE programme has gone viral. Dr Wamundila Kawana, a gastroenterology trainee, was already fairly knowledgeable about hepatitis but benefited from training on how to train health workers, disseminate hepatitis data, and conduct policy and advocacy activities. Dr. Kawana’s leadership at the HBV integrated clinic led to an oral abstract presented at the Conference on Liver Disease in Africa in Cape Town, South Africa. He presented to the World Health Organization, many African institutions, and a range of European and US-based academic institutions there. Dr Kawana was also tapped to present on HBV’s natural history and elimination as part of a Project ECHO session involving Zambia and neighbouring countries (including Malawi, Botswana, and Lesotho). He also gave a didactic to the Lighthouse clinic in Lilongwe, Malawi. Back in Zambia, Dr Kawana became the go-to person for various groups seeking hepatitis education. He has gone on TV and radio more than five times, travelled to Ndola Teaching Hospital, and served on the MoH Hepatitis Task Force. He is lobbying NHIMA, Zambia’s new national health insurance program, to include HBV laboratory tests in its covered package.


Accelerating the Hepatitis B response in Zambia (ACCELERATE)

Grantee: Hospital HIV AIDS Programme (UTH-HAP)

(UTH-HAP) started a “training of trainers” programme on hepatitis as Zambia had very few public health or clinical leaders prepared to train other health workers on viral hepatitis.  At the end of this project, 31 doctors were certified as hepatitis expert trainers. Before this programme, there were only five doctor experts in hepatitis in Zambia, making it virtually impossible to treat all the people in need.

UTH-HAP has also worked with hospital leadership to ensure the decentralization of testing to various points and the orientation of nurses to offering tests. More service delivery points, such as antenatal, sexually transmitted infection (STI) and antiretroviral therapy (ART) clinics and sites doing HIV testing, are now integrating hepatitis into their routine services. When kits are available, hepatitis testing can now be offered at any service delivery point by a trained provider. 

Photo credit: Michael Vinikoor.