NOhep Medical professional Visionaries

Africa

Are you a medical professional working in the field of hepatitis and are taking actions to eliminate this global killer? If so, we invite you to join other medical professionals from across the world who have committed to taking actions to accelerate this goal.

Dr Ruth Bello Nabe

Federal Medical Centre, Keffi
What does the elimination of viral hepatitis mean to you?
We need political will to accelerate the elimination of viral hepatitis... Drugs should be available, accessible and sustainable.

Dr Ruth Bello Nabe is a consultant gastroenterologist at the Federal Medical Centre in Keffi, Nigeria.

She graduated from University of Jos, Nigeria.

Q&A with Dr Ruth Bello Nabe

What are you doing to eliminate viral hepatitis?

I am raising awareness amongst the general public and health workers about health education on primary, secondary and tertiary prevention.

I also offer free screening to detect those infected with viral hepatitis early on. And, ensure early treatment of those who are infected.

 

In your opinion, what is needed to accelerate the elimination of viral hepatitis?

We need political will to accelerate the elimination of viral hepatitis. Treatment should be free or subsidised to cost as little as possible. Drugs should be available, accessible and sustainable.

 

What does the elimination of viral hepatitis mean to you?

The elimination of viral hepatitis means reductions in mortality and morbidity from complications of chronic viral hepatitis infection.

Prof Richard Njouom

International Network of Pasteur Institutes, Centre Pasteur of Cameroon, University of Yaoundé
Yaoundé, Cameroon
What does the elimination of viral hepatitis mean to you?
“The elimination of viral hepatitis requires improvement in screening, prevention and access to treatment”

Professor Richard Njouom has a PhD and a Habilitation to Direct Research (HDR) in Virology from the University of Toulouse III in France obtained in 2003 and 2013, respectively. He currently holds the rank of Research Director of the International Network of Pasteur Institutes and serves as head of the Virology Department at the Centre Pasteur of Cameroon. He also have teaching activities acting at the Department of Microbiology of the University of Yaoundé 1 in Cameroon. Njouom’s research focused on general and molecular epidemiology of hepatitis and respiratory viruses in Central Africa and its impact on diagnostic, treatment response and pathogenesis. He has published more than 100 peer-reviewed papers and one book, has given more than 90 scientific presentations in international meetings. He is Principal Investigator of about 5 ongoing international research and public health projects. Njouom is member of the WHO Guidelines Development Group for the diagnostic of Viral Hepatitis and also member of the WHO Pandemic Influenza Preparedness (PIP) Advisory Group.

Q&A with Prof Richard Njouom

What are you doing to eliminate viral hepatitis?

I am working at the Centre Pasteur of Cameroon which is the National Reference Laboratory of Cameroon on Viral hepatitis. Our role is mainly to provide testing (screening and laboratory follow up) for viral hepatitis.

Regarding the elimination of viral hepatitis, I am working on the evaluation of Rapid diagnostic tests (RDTs) and Point Of Care tests (POCTs) in order to improve their accessibility in remote areas and to allow people to know their status with regard to viral hepatitis.

In your opinion, what is needed to accelerate the elimination of viral hepatitis?

The elimination of viral hepatitis requires improvement in screening, prevention and access to treatment. Achieving these WHO targets is most feasible when strategically active and targeted screening programs to find and identify hepatitis-infected individuals are combined with the scale-up and strategic use of high effective therapies in the patient population.

In Africa the estimated epidemic size of viral hepatitis for 2017 was higher that of 2016 and this is not a good picture for HCV elimination. There are some gaps that need to be addressed:

  • Gaps in prevention to be identify end closed,
  • Testing and treatment to be urgently scaled up,
  • Public health approach needed to increase access (simplification, service delivery).

What does the elimination of viral hepatitis mean to you?

Elimination for me is the eradication of hepatitis C and the control of hepatitis B and D infections.

 

Dr Solomon Obekpa

Benue State University Teaching Hospital
Makurdi
What does the elimination of viral hepatitis mean to you?
Elimination of viral hepatitis is possible and we should aim for nothing but a zero incidence rate. Elimination will sure make the world a better place.

Solomon Obekpa is a resident doctor in internal medicine at the Benue State University Teaching Hospital (BSUTH), Makurdi, Nigeria.

He is also a board member for and co-founder of Advocacy for the Prevention of Hepatitis in Nigeria (APHIN), an NGO founded in 2007 which is a voting member of WHA.

Q&A with Dr Solomon Obekpa

What are you doing to eliminate viral hepatitis?

I have been involved in both planning and initiating of APHIN activities for the elimination of viral hepatitis. The activities I have personally carried out include:

• The training of healthcare workers
• Free viral hepatitis testing, counselling and consultation
• Public seminars and lectures on viral hepatitis in secondary schools and tertiary institutions
• Campaigns rallies and public awareness programmes, including an annual ‘Hepatitis Road Walk’
• Organised annual World Hepatitis Day programme

 

In your opinion, what is needed to accelerate the elimination of viral hepatitis?

We need Government will and support. Countries like Egypt are doing very well in the fight against viral hepatitis, despite high prevalence of hepatitis C, because of government supporter.

We also need active involvement and training of healthcare workers at all levels.

 

What does the elimination of viral hepatitis mean to you?

Elimination of viral hepatitis is possible and we should aim for nothing but a zero incidence rate. Elimination will sure make the world a better place.

Prof Abraham Orkgura Malu

University of Jos, Jos University Teaching Hospital
Jos
What does the elimination of viral hepatitis mean to you?
To eliminate viral hepatitis, we need to scale-up vaccinations for hepatitis B, particularly for new-borns. All new-borns should receive the birth-dose vaccine within 12 hours of birth.

Dr. Abraham Orkurga Malu has been a Professor of medicine at the University of Jos and the Jos University Teaching Hospital since 1998.

He was awarded the Commonwealth Medical Fellowship in 1992 and a Nigerian National honour of Officer of the Order of the Niger (OON) in 2006.

He has spoken at various conference in the fields of endoscopy, hepatitis and liver diseases and has had over 60 publications in medical journals.

Q&A with Prof Abraham Orkgura Malu

What are you doing to eliminate viral hepatitis?

I am carrying out research looking to define the most at-risk populations for viral hepatitis infection in Nigeria. I am also screening and linking people to care, including people living with viral hepatitis at a tertiary care level.

 

In your opinion, what is needed to accelerate the elimination of viral hepatitis?

To eliminate viral hepatitis, we need to scale-up vaccinations for hepatitis B, particularly for new-borns. All new-borns should receive the birth-dose vaccine within 12 hours of birth. Immunisation in the under-five clinic should continue too, though.

We should also scale-up screening for the whole population for hepatitis B and C. Those found positive should be evaluated for treatment. Drugs must be available and affordable so we can treat everyone in need.

 

What does the elimination of viral hepatitis mean to you?

The elimination of viral hepatitis is to reduce the burden of disease to such an extent that it is no longer a public health risk. The number of people still positive should be so low, infection no longer constitutes a public health risk.

Prof Mark Sonderup

University of Cape Town and Groote Schuur Hospital
Cape Town, South Africa
What does the elimination of viral hepatitis mean to you?
"To eliminate viral hepatitis we need POLITICAL WILL, awareness, advocacy, education and a massive increase in civil society involvement"

Professor Mark Sonderup is an Associate Professor in the Division of Hepatology and Department of Medicine at the University of Cape Town and Groote Schuur Hospital in Cape Town, South Africa. He obtained his undergraduate medical degree at the University of Cape Town with postgraduate training in Internal Medicine at the same Institution and later completed a Hepatology Fellowship at the UCT/MRC Liver Research Centre and Liver Clinic.  He is a council member of the South African Gastroenterology Society, member of the Gastroenterology and Hepatology Society of Sub-Saharan Africa (GHASSA), AASLD member and member of the Strategic Advisory Committee on Viral Hepatitis of the WHO.  His research interests include HIV/AIDS associated liver disease, viral hepatitis, drug induced liver injuries and the porphyrias. His publications included peer reviewed articles, chapters and proceedings.

Q&A with Prof Mark Sonderup

What are you doing to eliminate viral hepatitis?

I am a contributor to the national viral elimination plan for South Africa commissioned by the Department of Health. I am also actively involved in similar processes in sub-Saharan Africa (SSA) and vehemently endorse need for massive upscaling of birth dose and full completion of hepatitis B vaccine in SSA.

In your opinion, what is needed to accelerate the elimination of viral hepatitis?

POLITICAL WILL, awareness, advocacy, education and need for massive increase in civil society involvement. Once politicians learn that people know that they are essentially keeping them from simple yet lifesaving interventions, things will rapidly change.

What does the elimination of viral hepatitis mean to you?

It means people will escape the potential ravages of chronic viral hepatitis. We can produce a hep B and C free generation. I can then retire peacefully.

Dr Elijah Songok

Kenya Medical Research Institute
Nairobi, Kenya
What does the elimination of viral hepatitis mean to you?
“The same response that was mounted for HIV/AIDS should be done for viral hepatitis”

Dr Elijah Songok is a Virologist and Chief Research Officer at Kenya Medical Research Institute, Nairobi. He heads the viral hepatitis research program and is a technical expert for the National AIDS Control Program for Viral Hepatitis. He also initiated and Chaired the first committee that created awareness of the dangers of viral hepatitis during the World Hepatitis day in 2015. The annual program has continued since then.

Q&A with Dr Elijah Songok

What are you doing to eliminate viral hepatitis?

I am a virologist and researcher on viral hepatitis In Kenya. I also initiated and Chaired a committee of stakeholders from public and private entities that launched the first viral hepatitis awareness campaign in Kenya during the World Hepatitis Day in 2016. Before then, no awareness program existed on viral hepatitis in the country. This has continued to be held annually since then. I am also a member of the national expert committee on viral Hepatitis developing National Guidelines For Diagnosis, Prevention and Treatment of Hepatitis. These guidelines are due to be launched this year. At the Kenya Medical Research Institute, I lead a team that supports the national program in research and surveillance for viral hepatitis. We are also developing diagnostic kits appropriate for the country

In your opinion, what is needed to accelerate the elimination of viral hepatitis?

The same response that was mounted for HIV/AIDS should be done for viral hepatitis. VH accounts for three times more infections than HIV yet it still receives scant attention from health authorities, the media and donors. Creation of awareness should be top most priority followed by voluntary testing. Even health care workers themselves who are supposed to know more about viral hepatitis have little knowledge of how it is diagnosed, prevented and treated.

What does the elimination of viral hepatitis mean to you? .

It shall be a milestone. An accomplishment, that what we began has borne fruit.

Prof Christian Tzeuton

Douala University, Bangangté University
Cameroon
What does the elimination of viral hepatitis mean to you?
"We have affordable prices for drugs but a reduction in price of DAAs is needed"

Professor Christian Tzeuton is a Professor of Gastroenterology and Hepatology at Douala University and Bangangté, Cameroon. He is a member of the African Association for the Study of Liver Diseases as well as President of the Cameroonian Society of Gastroenterology. He is also a member of the World Gastro Organisation IBS Task Force and a past President of the Francophone African Hepato-gastroenterology Association as well as a past Vice President of the African and Middle East Association.

Q&A with Prof Christian Tzeuton

What are you doing to eliminate viral hepatitis?

I am in close collaboration with our Minister of Health in the field on viral hepatitis and also President of the “Societe Camerounaise de Gastro-Enterologie”. I conduct daily follow up with and the treatment of lots of patients as an Ultrasound specialist. I am also involved in many campaigns offering free screening at companies, banks schools and prisons, sometimes appearing on talks on TV, Radio and in newspapers to spread the message.

I am also active on World Hepatitis Day (and week) with the Société Camerounaise de Gastro-Entérologie. On top of that I am a consultant for Roche pharma, a consultant for Gilead Sciences and have spoken at many international Medical Congresses, including AASLD.

I am finally the leader of the Hepatitis Therapeutic Committee for Douala and I teach viral hepatitis training of general practitioners across different universities in Cameroon.

In your opinion, what is needed to accelerate the elimination of viral hepatitis?

We must continue to find a way for low costing lab tests including elastographies and ultrasounds because they are too expensive in Africa.

We have affordable prices for drugs but a reduction in price of DAAs is also needed.

Finally we also need free birth-dose Hepatitis B vaccines for ALL new-borns and train up midwives and nurses in rural parts of Africa.

What does the elimination of viral hepatitis mean for you? 

It would mean a reduction in prevalence, a reduction in new contamination and follow-up and treatment for infected populations. Ultimately, it means progress to a REAL CURE in the future.

 

 

Other medical visionaries in Africa

  • Diallo Abdourahamane Diouria, Guinea
  • Rabiu Abdullahi, Nigeria
  • Murtala Abubakar, Nigeria
  • Fadeke Abuworonye, Nigeria
  • Gideon Adambil-Laar, Ghana
  • Benedicta Adjei Mensah, Ghana
  • Adwoa Agyei-Nkansah, Ghana
  • Mark O Akhigbe, Nigeria
  • Eunice Akinwumi, Nigeria
  • Kiiza Alexander, Uganda
  • Adamu Ali Bukar, Nigeria
  • Emmanuel Ande Sambo, Nigeria
  • Okwir Aron, Uganda
  • Bisi Bright, Nigeria
  • Nafiisah Chotun, South Africa
  • Noutcha Clémence, Cameroon
  • Alioune B. Coulibaly, Mali
  • Olawunmi Dada, Nigeria
  • Suglo Damasus, Ghana
  • Hailemichael Desalegn, Ethiopia
  • Smita Devani, Kenya
  • Kemayou Diétrith, Cameroon
  • Dr. Nseabasi Ekanem, Nigeria
  • Manal El Said, Egypt
  • Ajis Eleazar, Nigeria
  • Chizaram Fide-Nwaogu, Nigeria
  • Amine Ghrabi, Tunisia
  • Alice Guingane, Burkina Faso
  • Nasser Hamed Mousa, Egypt
  • Adepeju Hameed, Nigeria
  • Kato Harlod, Uganda
  • Zakari Hudu, Nigeria
  • Ehi Iden, Nigeria
  • Kananga Jackson, Uganda
  • Oladosu Janet, Nigeria
  • Tuyishime Jean De Dieu, Rwanda
  • Amgah John, Nigeria
  • Biegon Joy, Kenya
  • Mazo Kone, Mali
  • Doreen Krakah, Ghana
  • Ogbonna Leona-Mary C, Nigeria
  • Domoh Linda Mwinsonge, Ghana
  • Akanne Loretta chioma, Nigeria
  • Akanne lorretta, Nigeria
  • Precious Love, Nigeria
  • Abigael Lukhwaro, Kenya
  • Morubula Manamela, South Africa
  • Pantong Mark Davwar, Nigeria
  • Isa Mohammed Bammami, Nigeria
  • Odudu Monica, Nigeria
  • Gladys Mwende Ngwei, Kenya
  • Ramou Njie, The Gambia
  • Idowu Olufemi Joseph, Nigeria
  • Adegbamj Oluwatobi, Nigeria
  • Dr Golden Owhonda, Nigeria
  • Davwar Pantong Mark, Nigeria
  • Chumtan Patience, Nigeria
  • Patrick, Ghana
  • Nsiah Patrick, Ghana
  • Dr. Ocheya Patrick Ekre, Nigeria
  • Moses Paul Mahalila, Tanzania
  • Chuks Peter Chuks, Nigeria
  • Rittoo Prithiviputh, Mauritius
  • Amr Seddik, Egypt
  • Magdalene Seguin, South Africa
  • Mahesh V Shah, Kenya
  • Kamaluddeen Shehu, Nigeria
  • Aisha Shehu Adamu, Nigeria
  • Grace O. Sheyin, Nigeria
  • Alexander Stockdale, Malawi
  • Elsayed Tharwa, Egypt
  • Tulari Tine, Nigeria
  • Byamukama Umar Balinda, Uganda
  • Achogba Victor Michael, Nigeria
  • Kgomotso Vilakazi Nhlapo, South Africa
  • Chi we Abama, Nigeria
  • Ahmed-Rufai Yahaya, Ghana
  • Monkez M Yousif, Egypt
  • Patrick Zikanga, Uganda

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