Increasing the Capacity of Health Care Workers on Viral Hepatitis B and C Management and Provision of Hepatitis Testing and Linkage to Care in Adamawa and Taraba States:
Hepatitis B and C ranks high amongst killer diseases worldwide and Nigeria has a large number
of people unknowingly living with these viruses. Even with the staggering number of active viral
hepatitis cases, there have been very few measures put in place to help cater and care for those who are living with these diseases.
Many factors contribute to the high mortality rate of hepatitis B and C in Nigeria. One of the outstanding factors is the poor knowledge of hepatitis care and management amongst health workers especially those at the primary and secondary health care facilities.
This project aimed to educate health care providers in Taraba and Adamawa state to increase the awareness of viral Hepatitis B and C and also provide testing and linkage to care in the selected states.
To achieve our aim, we partnered with National Viral Hepatitis Control Program, Federal
Ministry of Health Nigeria, Society of Gastroenterology and Hepatology, Clinton Health Access Initiative, and the Ministries of Health in Adamawa and Taraba States.
We organized a 2-day training session for the 44 doctors, 26 pharmacists, 29 nurses and 36 medical laboratory scientists to educate them on
The WHO and FGN Viral Hepatitis Prevention, Treatment and Care Guidelines for
trained health care providers
WHO Global Health Sector Strategy on Viral Hepatitis Elimination (GHSS) 2016-2030
Viral hepatitis B and C reporting indicators
We also established a viral Hepatitis training learning platform on WhatsApp to link trained personnel to senior Consultant Gastroenterologist in Nigeria, Prof. Abraham Malu and Dr Ruth and also to the National Viral Hepatitis Control Program. This platform helps the trained personnel share their patients case for review and get an expert opinion from Senior Professionals.
In the aspect of hepatitis awareness and testing, we organized viral hepatitis B and C awareness programs in 6 secondary schools in Jalingo Local Government Area, Taraba State, the state correctional facility and the general public.
At the Government Science Secondary School Jalingo, we conducted viral hepatitis B and C testing for 1142 students. 453 of them were boys and the remaining 689 were girls.
At Government Day Secondary School Howai Mile Six, Jalingo, 2805 students were tested for hepatitis B and C. The girls tested were 1750 and 1055 were tested.
At Government Day Secondary School Kofai, Jalingo, we tested 402 girls and 671 boys giving us a total number of 1073 students in this school.
At Government Model Secondary School, Jalingo, we were able to test 902 students for hepatitis B and C. 398 of them were boys and the remaining girls.
At Government Day Secondary School Nukkai, Jalingo, we carried out hepatitis B and C testing for 748 girls and 521 boys.
We also tested 327 male inmates and 21 female inmates at the Jalingo Prisons (Correctional Center).
At Taraba State Specialist Hospital, Jalingo (Women on Ante-Natal Clinic), we tested a total number of 451 women who attended ante-natal on the 18 – 22 of November 2019.
We also conducted the test for 3864 other men and 4081 women. In all, CFID was able to test 15985 people for hepatitis B and C including students, pregnant women on ante-natal care and prison inmates. 1,482 males tested positive to hepatitis B while 1,148 female tested positive to hepatitis B. The result for hepatitis C showed that 1,172 males and 1,520 females tested positive.
Vaccines were administered and those who tested positive were integrated into the Taraba Hepatitis Access Program to receive proper care. We leveraged free 90 doses of HCV DAAs during the African Hepatitis Summit in Kampala and provided drugs to clients who tested positive to HCV Ab and confirmed RNA. 82 persons at the end of 12-weeks treatment achieved SVR.
At the end of this project, we were able to considerably bridge the knowledge gap among health care providers on Viral hepatitis care, provide an avenue for continued education and
communication on Viral hepatitis care, and formulate strong advocacy to engage management and leadership of health care facilities to secure political will to improve health outcomes which are highly needed.