ALPA and the African Union to launch the 2nd Conference on Combating Viral Hepatitis in the continent next Wednesday
Dr Gamal Shiha: “Viral hepatitis is a major threat to public health in Africa.”
Dr Ahmed Hamdy: “1.4 million deaths annually due to cancer and cirrhosis.”
Egypt is a pioneer African country in eliminating viral hepatitis
The African Liver Patients’ Association (ALPA) chaired by Prof. Dr Gamal Shiha, in cooperation with the African Union Scientific Technical Research Commission (AU-STRC), launches the 2nd Capacity Building Conference for AU Member States on Viral Hepatitis next Wednesday from 31st March to 1st April 2021, via video conference. The conference aims to ensure that AU Member States take all the necessary actions and interventions to combat viral hepatitis during this time of COVID-19.
Dr Gamal Shiha said that the 2nd Capacity Building Conference for AU Member States would strategically find ways of addressing the challenges posed by viral hepatitis in light of the COVID-19 pandemic, thus greatly boosting the knowledge of the relevance of science and technology in combating viral hepatitis in Africa building upon Egypt’s success story.
He added that the conference aimed to control the transmission of viral hepatitis and provide safe, affordable, and effective care and treatment for viral hepatitis patients. Member states are also to be mobilized to take effective action to eradicate viral hepatitis as a major threat to public health in Africa.
This 2nd Capacity Building Workshop is built upon the successes of the 1st Capacity Building Workshop on Viral Hepatitis that took place 3rd -5th November in Cairo, where over 100 African health professionals, scientists and pharmaceutical companies attended.
For his part, Dr Ahmed Hamdy, Executive Director of the AU-STRC, said that viral hepatitis was an endemic disease, causing about 1.4 million deaths annually worldwide, most of which due to hepatitis-related liver cancer and cirrhosis.
He added that chronic hepatitis affected more than 70 million Africans (60 million infected with hepatitis B and 10 million infected hepatitis C), noting that hepatitis B can be prevented and treated, and hepatitis C can now be treated.
He also stressed that Egypt is a pioneer African country in eliminating hepatitis and that it was one of only 12 countries around the world on track to reach the World Health Organization’s goal of eliminating hepatitis C as a threat to public health by 2030, noting that Egypt has achieved this goal in 2020.
It should be noted that the AU-STRC is a specialized institution of the African Union that deals with Science, Technology, and Innovation (STI) with the mandate to implement STISA-2024. While ALPA is a continental organization whose aim is improving care and treatment for people suffering from hepatitis through the cooperation of its members and the global stakeholders. ALPA also contributed to bringing together the personnel working in the field of hepatitis worldwide.