Public Engagement to Help Fight Viral Hepatitis: Call for Stories

Has viral hepatitis impacted your life, the life of someone you care about or your community?

Are you willing to share your story to help inspire change?

Our team is collecting stories about hepatitis and we need your help! The purpose of this open call is to gather stories of hepatitis that will help spur change in your country. These stories could take the form of text, audio, visual art, or infographics. All submissions will be reviewed by independent judges and exceptional submissions will be recognized at national and global events, in addition to receiving prizes.

Anyone can submit and we particularly encourage submissions from:

· people with and affected by hepatitis (including but not limited to patients living with hepatitis, people cured, families affected etc).

· advocates

· civil society leaders

· people in hepatitis organisations.

The deadline for submissions is April 30th 2021.

Note: stories focused on hepatitis during the COVID pandemic are also relevant to this open call and are welcome.

 

What can be submitted

Your submission can cover personal experiences, care-seeking encounters, local actions from advocacy groups/civil society organisations, community impacts and anything else you determine relevant to your story, both during normal times and COVID. Categories for submission include community advocacy, community input into policy, community awareness and education, support of service delivery, and community-based research. We encourage the use of English, but submissions are also accepted in French, Chinese, Russian, Arabic and Spanish.

Your submission can also be anonymous if you would rather not share your story publicly but would still like your perspective heard.

 

Prizes

Prizes and awards will be presented to exceptional submissions from individuals, as well as organisations that help the largest number of submissions. Prizes for individuals include gift vouchers, Kindles and Bluetooth headphones.

Finalists from three countries will be invited to attend hybrid domestic workshops which will be arranged between July 2021 and February 2022, with the exact dates dependent on the local context. Full fellowships will be provided to finalists from the three countries to cover registration fees, travel, accommodation and daily expenses for attending the workshop. If the domestic workshops are transitioned to a digital format because of COVID-19, an equivalent amount will be provided in cash to finalists.

One to two finalists/Community based organisations representatives from each of the three countries will also be invited to a digital international hackathon with full fellowships in June 2022 (tentatively to be held in Bangkok Thailand) to drive forward hepatitis policy changes.

 

We seek submissions which can be combined into a campaign sharing different stories about the impact of hepatitis on lives. Hepatitis C is now curable, and treatment for hepatitis B and hepatitis D reduces the risk of liver cancer, but most people with viral hepatitis have not been tested, diagnosed, or received treatment. This is particularly stark in many parts of Africa and Asia where there is a high burden of disease. Due to the significant need for change in these regions, stories from these areas are encouraged, but we welcome submissions from anywhere in the world, including high-income countries.

Accepted Submission Formats

· Text narrative experiences (500 words or less): a written story about the topic

· Image (no more than 2 pages): images can be created using pictures, photos, or based on drawn artworks

· Audio/video clips (no more than 3 minutes): it can be either audio or video or a combination of both

· Infographics (no more than 2 pages): a collection of imagery, charts, and minimal text that gives an easy-to-understand overview of a topic

 

What can I submit?

Your submission can cover personal experiences, care-seeking encounters, local actions from advocacy groups/civil society organisations, community impacts and anything else you determine relevant to your story both during normal times and during COVID. Categories for submission can also include community advocacy, community input into policy, community awareness and education, support of service delivery, and community-based research. These submissions can be in the form of a personal memoir, image, audio,  video, or infographic. We encourage the use of English, but submissions are also accepted in French, Chinese, Russian, Arabic and Spanish.

Your submission can also be anonymous if you would rather not share your story publicly but would still like your perspective heard.

Submission formats

What happens after you submit?

Submissions will be screened for eligibility and then anonymously scored by a group of independent judges based upon the judging criteria (see Judging below).  Top ranked finalists will be recognized and receive prizes and contributions with a mean score of 7/10 or greater will receive commendations. Finalist submissions will also be shared with policy makers and the wider public for the purpose of catalyzing policy changes and raising awareness on the importance of hepatitis elimination. We will obtain your consent before sharing if your submission is selected as a finalist. We encourage finalists to share your own stories and have your voice heard, but no identifiable information will be included in the sharing process if you do not want it to. However, there will also be an option for people to share details with the public if they are comfortable. In addition, we will invite finalists from three countries to attend domestic workshops (one day per country) sequentially between July 2021 and February 2022, and a digital international hackathon in June 2022 to share their stories and stimulate dialogues with local and international hepatitis leaders for policy changes. Your submissions will not be used for commercial purposes at any time.

Timeline

The submission deadline for this challenge is April 30, 2021. Judging will take place in May. Domestic workshops will occur between July 2021 and February 2022. We will convene a working group in July 2021 to start planning for related digital events in June 2022.

 

Prizes

Awards will be presented to exceptional submissions from individuals, as well as organizations that help the largest number of submissions. Some prizes for individuals include Kindles, Bluetooth headphones, and gift cards. The location of the three domestic workshops will be selected based on the quantity and quality of submissions from that country, in addition to considerations related to hepatitis policy within the country. The domestic workshops will be a hybrid in-person and digital format. Transport to the in-person workshop will be covered for policy makers and finalists so they can collectively continue the effort to change health policy. An equivalent stipend will be provided to those who attend the workshop online. Further, follow-up mentorship will be organized for policy makers and civil society groups to build capacity for evidence-informed policy making.

Finalist submissions will receive an official commendation from the steering committee. Final decisions will be made by the steering committee.

Judging

The assessment criteria used to analyze the different submissions will be based on the rubric below with four concentration dimensions:

Capacity for Impact: Does the submission represent a unique and moving experiences that people can sympathize with?

Relevance: Is the message relevant and relatable to the experience of hepatitis in your community?

Feasibility: Could this message be delivered through multiple mechanisms by local hepatitis advocacy projects?

Elaboration: Is the story/message adequately articulated in the submission and understandable?

 

FAQs

Why is my voice important and how will my participation help to change things?

In many countries, people with hepatitis are excluded, left out, and silenced. The process of speaking out about hepatitis can help the public, including leaders, to better understand the personal impact of the disease on individuals, families, communities, and society.

Who is organizing this project?

This project is a partnership between the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, the World Hepatitis Alliance, EndHep2030, and partner organizations.

What is an open call?

An open call is a form of crowdsourcing effort intended to collect responses from a diverse audience in a unique approach to gaining a larger understanding from a collective crowd. The response collection is guided by a steering committee and the responses are assessed by a judging committee which collectively selects particular responses to share with a wider community. Open calls are innovative methods for creating bottom-up solutions to societal and health problems.

What are the judging criteria for the open call?

For this open call, responses will be selected based on the influential nature of the submission. There are three criteria, as elaborated on above, by which each submission will be assessed: capacity for impact, relevance, feasibility, and elaboration.

Can I submit entries related to COVID but still focus on viral hepatitis?

Yes, we welcome submissions focused on viral hepatitis both during normal times and during COVID.

What is hepatitis D?

Hepatitis D virus (HDV) is a virus that requires hepatitis B virus (HBV) for its replication. HDV infection occurs only simultaneously or as super-infection with HBV. HDV affects globally nearly 5% of people who have a chronic infection with HBV. HDV-HBV co-infection is considered the most severe form of chronic viral hepatitis due to more rapid progression towards liver-related death and hepatocellular carcinoma. Hepatitis D infection can be prevented by hepatitis B immunization. The virus is most commonly transmitted from mother to child during birth and delivery, as well as through contact with blood or other body fluids, including sex with an infected partner, injection-drug use that involves sharing needles, syringes, or drug-preparation equipment and needle sticks or exposures to sharp instruments. Vertical transmission from mother to child is rare.

How is liver cancer related to hepatitis?

Liver cancer happens when liver cells develop changes (mutations) in their DNA. A cell’s DNA is the material that provides instructions for every chemical process in your body. DNA mutations cause changes in these instructions. One result is that cells may begin to grow out of control and eventually form a tumor — a mass of cancerous cells. There may be many causes for liver cancer and chronic infection with the HBV, HDV or HCV are known to increase your risk of liver cancer.

Any example submissions or format requirement?

To avoid similarity of submissions, we usually do not provide examples. But a good tip is that think of how you can tell a good story. Then you can do it your own way.

Why focus on digital?

Digital platforms can be a powerful tool for advocacy as demonstrated by the NOhep campaign and other WHA communications activities.

How many stories can I submit?

There is no limit to number of submissions, and you are welcome to submit as many as you want. But if you want to submit multiple submissions, please submit separately.

Do I need to be living with hepatitis?

No, anyone is eligible to join the challenge. We would love to hear from those with the disease, or those who have recovered from the disease. However, we also welcome submissions from family members, friends, and community activists who have interacted with the Hepatitis community, etc.

What forms of hepatitis are the focus?

This open call is specifically confronting the global impact of hepatitis B, hepatitis C and hepatitis D. While other forms are certainly important, they are not relevant to this specific open call.

Will our messages be shared locally and globally?

Yes, please only submit content that you are confident with sharing publicly since the nature of this project is to share the content we have collected.

Will the messages be implemented as part of a campaign?

Yes, exceptional messages will be disseminated, but you will be contacted before any distribution occurs. Hence providing contact information during the submission is important for us to reach out to you.

Will you be collecting information about participants?

Yes, along with the information about the submission itself, our survey collects some basic demographic information, including sex, age, nationality, and your contacts for the purpose of contacting the participant if they are selected to receive a prize.

What personal identifying information do we need to provide?

None, unless you are hoping to receive a prize for your submission, wherein your name and some contact information is necessary. However, identifiable information will not be shared in any occasions without your consent. The privacy of our participants is of paramount importance.

What if my country does not have access to medication for hepatitis or advocacy groups present?

Problems such as these are one of the many reasons that we have created this open call. We would appreciate hearing about your experience as well, as it is important to display the breadth of hepatitis stories. Additionally, we can help to initiate advocacy groups and work to help improve quality of life for those with hepatitis in your community.

Are there incentives for networks and community-based organizations?

Yes, organizations, groups or individuals who contribute most (quantity and quality) to submissions will be invited to be a partner for the domestic workshops and have networking opportunities with local civil groups, activists and policy makers.

How do I create an infographic?

There are many open access resources available for creating infographics and related visual materials. More details can be found here.

Contact contest coordinator Claire at hepatitis.stories@gmail.com if you have any questions.

 

Resources

Tips and open access resources for creating infographics and videos:

https://journals.plos.org/plosmedicine/article/comments?id=10.1371/journal.pmed.1003246

WHO General Hepatitis: http://www.who.int/hepatitis/en/

WHO Chronic Hepatitis B Guidelines: http://who.int/hepatitis/publications/hepatitis-b-guidelines/en/

WHO Chronic Hepatitis C Guidelines: http://who.int/hepatitis/publications/hepatitis-c-guidelines/en/

EndHep2030: https://endhep2030.org/

World Hepatitis Alliance: https://www.worldhepatitisalliance.org/

The project was made possible with funding from The Hepatitis Fund