On the occasion of Africa Day, ALPA reviews its efforts in the fight against viral hepatitis
The African Liver Patients’ Association (ALPA) is one of the foundations that has significantly contributed to Egypt's achievement of the World Health Organization’s goal of eliminating viral hepatitis C by 2030, this virus that became a threat to public health. Egypt was pro-active in achieving this goal during 2020. ALPA strives to realize this goal across Africa, which is greatly affected by chronic viral hepatitis. More than 70 million Africans suffer from viral hepatitis, of which 60 million are infected with hepatitis B and 10 million with hepatitis C.
The African Association is endeavoring to eradicate liver diseases on the continent. This is done through cooperation with regional organizations, led by the African Union, as well as international organizations, namely the Global Hepatitis Alliance. The aim is to eliminate liver diseases in Africa.
In this regard, part of ALPA’s efforts during the previous years are reviewed as follows:
The African Liver Patients Association (ALPA) launched in March 2021 the 2nd Capacity-Building Workshop for African Union Member States on Viral Hepatitis C in cooperation with the African Union. The workshop aimed to counter the spread of viral hepatitis, guaranteeing a safe life for hepatitis patients as well as affordable/ effective care and treatment. The workshop also sought to mobilize Member States to take effective action to eliminate viral hepatitis as a major threat to public health in Africa. Dr. Gamal Shiha, Chairman of the Board of Directors of ALPA, stressed the need to effectively represent civil society organizations within the African Union. He also presented Egypt's experience in combating this disease, reviewing the "Village exempt of viral hepatitis C" Project. It is a big project that managed to reach more than 100 Egyptian villages exempt of hepatitis C.
ALPA held also held a Capacity-Building Workshop on Viral Hepatitis for the AU Member States in November 2018, in partnership with the African Union Scientific Technical and Research Commission (AU-STRC). The workshop was attended by different senior officials, experts and pharmaceutical companies from more than 20 African countries.
In April 2019, ALPA launched a workshop for young African actors who organized initiatives and management projects, under the theme “Development in Africa”. This was done through capacity-building programs for African youth, to prepare them and develop their skills, in the medical field or others. This workshop sought to support projects and professional initiatives in terms of quality enhancement, management, sustainability and provision of resources. In this workshop, young Africans were also trained on project management and capacity development for good management of NGOs.
ALPA has participated in several national, regional and international events. The Association participated in the International Viral Hepatitis Elimination Meeting (IVHEM), which was held in Amsterdam in December 2020. ALPA also participated in the activities of the “First African Health Conference” in January 2019, which was held in Cairo under the auspices of President Abdel Fattah El-Sisi. A number of member organizations of ALPA participated at the COLDA Conference (Conference on Liver Diseases in Africa) that was held in Cairo in September 2019.
ALPA participated in the activities of Africa Day in Egypt in 2018, which was organized by the Ministry of Youth and Sports in cooperation with the African Union. This event was attended by about 150 young men and women from African communities, African students in the Arab Republic of Egypt and diplomatic missions. This was part of the 55th anniversary of the Organization of African Unity. ALPA participated through a medical caravan, providing screening service and treatments free of charge for hepatitis patients. More than 300 individuals from various African countries have been tested for free.
ALPA continues to communicate with different African countries to discuss strategies appropriate to the needs of each country, as well as to include the goal of eliminating liver diseases in the national projects. In this context, member organizations of ALPA work to expand their activities within their own communities to raise awareness and provide screening, testing and referral services, for instance the efforts by the Hope for Healthy Life Foundation - ALPA member - in Jalingo, Nigeria.
Under the fruitful cooperation between Egypt and civil society organizations, the African Association expresses its appreciation for President Abdel Fattah El-Sisi's initiative to treat one million Africans suffering from viral hepatitis C. This initiative was launched at the Arab African Youth Forum held in Aswan in March 2019. In light of the global current pandemic, ALPA’s concerted efforts are directed towards achieving the hopes and aspirations of the African brothers through the operationalization of Egyptian initiative to eradicate viral hepatitis in Africa.