Lesi said massive investments, combined with reforms in public health sector,
are required to speed up the elimination of hepatitis in Africa.
"Country-specific action plans for controlling hepatitis infections should be
implemented with urgency, and modern diagnostic tools are needed to help detect
different strains of the disease to inform treatment," she said.
Capacity-building for health workers and awareness campaigns is key to
strengthening response to high rate of hepatitis infection among high-risk
groups like intravenous drug users, Lesi said.
Africa’s first ever Hepatitis summit opens
KAMPALA (Xinhua) -- Health
experts from Africa and international organizations are meeting in Uganda’s
capital of Kampala for the first ever Africa Hepatitis Summit aimed at devising
means of fighting the disease on the continent.
Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni, while opening the three-day meeting on
Tuesday, said African countries have the potential to address health challenges
including ending the viral hepatitis diseases
"I am glad to hear that the ministers of health from Africa, representatives
of World Health Organization (WHO), World Hepatitis Alliance, African Union and
the pharmaceutical companies are here to address this important issue of viral
hepatitis in Africa and globally," Museveni said in a statement read for him by
Vice President Edward Ssekandi.
Museveni said Uganda is one of the first countries in Africa to undertake the
manufacture of Hepatitis B (HBV) medicines.
He said the manufacturer Cipla Quality Chemical Industries Ltd is also
embarking on manufacturing medicines for the treatment of Hepatitis C (HCV).
"These efforts showcase the role that public and private partnerships can
play in increasing access to hepatitis medicines and ensuring affordable,
quality pharmaceuticals made in Africa for African patients."
Jane Ruth Aceng, Uganda’s minister of health told the meeting held under the
theme, "Eliminating Viral Hepatitis in Africa; Implementing the viral hepatitis
strategy", said countries should borrow best practices and lessons learnt in the
successful fight against HIV.
Aceng said the World Health Assembly made resolutions in 2010 and 2014 that
recognized viral hepatitis as a public health problem and the need for
governments and populations to take action to prevent, diagnose and treat it.
She said Uganda adopted the resolutions and set up a Hepatitis Technical
Working Group, which has devised means of fighting the disease in the country.
She said Uganda has made tremendous strides towards elimination of the viral
Among the successes include among others introduction of routine childhood
pentavalent vaccine against HBV, screening of all donated blood, introduction of
non-reusable injection devices and vaccinating populations in affected areas
Aceng said government is prioritizing carrying out a nationwide sero-survey
to ascertain the actual prevalence of HCV.
She said government plans to screen all pregnant women for HBV and HCV as
well as introduce the HBV birth does in a bid to reduce new viral hepatitis
According to WHO, viral hepatitis is highly endemic in the Africa, which
contributes significantly to the global burden of the disease.
Data by the global health body showed that an estimated 325 million people
are living with chronic HBV or HCV infection.