Coalition for Global Hepatitis Elimination announces 2022 “Elimination Champions”

Coalition for Global Hepatitis Elimination announces 2022 “Elimination Champions”

 

Coalition for Global Hepatitis Elimination announces 2022 “Elimination Champions”

Six leaders from six different countries are honored for their achievements in viral hepatitis testing, care and prevention

 

The Coalition for Global Hepatitis Elimination is thrilled to announce the 2022 Elimination Champions for viral hepatitis. These exemplary leaders have elevated the cause of hepatitis B and C eliminations in their countries and communities, ensuring greater access to care for all people. We’re humbled to honor their work. This year’s Champions include:

Mr. Atta ul Haq, Pakistan

Mr. Atta ul Haq uses digital tools to increase and promote hepatitis awareness, patient outreach, and access to hepatitis prevention, testing, and care services in Quetta Baluchistan, Pakistan. He has worked to establish locally driven, ongoing community support organizations, engaging women, youth, and diverse stakeholders to increase disease awareness outside of clinical settings. Atta ul Haq helped establish four community-based resource centers and thirty support groups to provide information on the importance of self-care in hepatitis education and promote awareness of liver health and hepatitis by improving knowledge, changing minds and behaviors, and empowering and engaging the communities and patients.

Mr. Adegbami Adedayo Oluwatobi, Nigeria

Mr. Oluwatobi works to overcome vaccine hesitancy and increase access to vaccination in Nigeria by introducing hepatitis vaccination to people at their places of work, play and worship. As head of the Vaccine Arm of Emzor Pharmaceuticals, he has formed partnerships with NGOs and healthcare associations to increase access and awareness to vaccination, and he leads a public health team whose work is dedicated to hepatitis elimination. Through these efforts, he has been able to facilitate the screening and vaccination of over 50,000 people in Nigeria.

Dr. Su Wang, United States

As a doctor, treating people living with hepatitis B, and someone living with hepatitis B, Su Wang is in a unique position, and she has used her voice to tirelessly advocate for people living with viral hepatitis. Dr. Wang is the Medical Director of the Center for Asian Health at Saint Barnabas Medical Center and served as President of the World Hepatitis Alliance in 2020-2021, where she was an ambassador for all people living with viral hepatitis, ensuring their voice was heard on the global stage. During her presidency Su oversaw the launch of the ‘Hepatitis Can’t Wait’ campaign and was also pivotal to the launch of WHA new strategy in 2021, which looked to elevate the voices of the people and communities impacted by hepatitis as well as the people and organizations working to fight for the elimination of hepatitis.  

Dr. Hailemichael Desalegn Mekonnen, Ethiopia

Concerned with the limited number of practitioners in Ethiopia, Dr. Desalegn started a Gastroenterology/Hepatology fellowship program at St Paul's Hospital Millennium Medical College. He has served as Vice President of the Ethiopian Gastroenterology Association and has trained health professionals of different specialties in most cities of the country. He organizes and leads awareness training on viral hepatitis to community members annually on World Hepatitis Day, and he has led one of the largest HBV cohort studies in Sub-Saharan Africa. He is also a program leader and director of project ECHO Sub-Saharan Africa, where physicians from remote areas and resource-limited settings can participate in telementoring and case discussions without the need of travel of experts. He coordinates and leads four pilot programs of hepatitis B treatment in Ethiopia that have planned to enroll a total of 6,000 patients.

Dr. Charles Adjei, Ghana

Dr. Charles Adjei is the Executive Director of the Hepatitis Alliance of Ghana. As part of efforts to eliminate hepatitis in Ghana, he has been involved in a number of programs and projects, including training over 10,000 healthcare providers in 7 regions of Ghana since 2008. He is the convener of the Hepatitis Summit-Ghana, where key stakeholders/policymakers, researchers, public health professionals, and health care providers are brought together for dialogue and training every two years in the Ghana capital. Dr. Adjei advocates to policymakers on the need to invest in hepatitis elimination programs, and he mentors others to serve as champions for hepatitis elimination.

Dr. Manal Hamdy El-Sayed, Egypt

Dr. El-Sayed was a founding member of the National Committee for the Control of Viral Hepatitis (NCCVH) in Egypt 2006. She was pivotal in all the efforts of the committee, spearheading the prevention efforts and guidelines since 2010. She is currently the head of the pediatric viral hepatitis elimination efforts, and sets the guidelines and treatment efforts for children with HCV. Since 2018, Dr. El-Sayed has led Egypt’s national screening and treatment campaign for HCV in teenagers and children, which has screened more than 10 million school children and treated all those who proved positive.

The Elimination Champion initiative was launched in 2019 and aims to recognize individuals’ remarkable contributions to improving political commitment, policies, and programs, which help expand access to interventions and accelerate progress toward hepatitis elimination, particularly in areas with limited resources. Read more about the champions here: https://www.globalhep.org/champions. 

“The Coalition salutes the tremendous efforts of these six Hepatitis Elimination Champions who have shown outstanding commitment to eliminating hepatitis as a health threat for community members and patients around the world. The ultimate goal of hepatitis elimination is health equity, and by training healthcare workers, establishing treatment programs, fighting hepatitis-related stigma, advocating for government action and expanding access to hepatitis testing and treatment through capacity building, these champions are advancing an urgent cause. We owe them a debt of gratitude, because their actions and the example they set for others, are moving us closer to a world free from viral hepatitis. Congratulations and thank you,” says Dr. John Ward, Director of the Coalition for Global Hepatitis Elimination.

The Elimination Champion 2022 nominations were open from July through September 2022. The Coalition received 15 nominations from 13 countries. A panel of judges representing previous Elimination Champions, elimination program managers, the major liver disease professional associations, and civil society assessed the nominations. Champions will receive awards by mail and their profiles will be added to https://www.globalhep.org/champions.

 

About the Coalition for Global Hepatitis Elimination

The Coalition for Global Hepatitis Elimination, a program of the Task Force for Global Health, provides services to assist the planning, implementation and evaluation of national and sub-national programs to eliminate hepatitis B virus (HBV) and hepatitis C virus (HCV) transmission and disease. For more information, visit globalhep.org.

                                                           

About The Task Force for Global Health

The Task Force for Global Health, based in Atlanta and founded nearly 40 years ago to advance health equity, works with partners in more than 150 countries to eliminate diseases, ensure access to vaccines and essential medicines, and strengthen health systems to protect populations. For more information, visit taskforce.org.

 

Read more about the champions here: https://www.globalhep.org/champions 

Contact: Monica Fambrough, mfambrough [at] taskforce.org ()