Hepatitis Advocacy and Awareness Project (HAAP)
The Hepatitis Advocacy and Awareness Project (HAAP) is a project aimed at mobilising community-driven interventions for viral hepatitis prevention in Nasarawa State, North Central, Nigeria. It is operated in close cooperation with both the State Ministry of Health, and local government Council Health Offices.
These have been involved from the inception and planning to implementation stages, sharing their expertise, experience and resources. Referral channels were set up to connect beneficiaries with the services most available to them through the Primary Healthcare Centres (PHCs).
Viral hepatitis B affects more people in Nigeria than HIV/AIDS and is approximately 100 times more infectious than HIV. However, viral hepatitis receives a fraction of the afforded to HIV. The National Policy on Viral Hepatitis is non-operational and there is no financial commitment from federal and state governments to respond to the viral hepatitis threat. Much more needs to be done to eliminate this preventable disease.
- Establishment of Community Structures: GAMMUN established community structures to develop local actions to prevent viral hepatitis and create local solutions to funding and other challenges. The Community Development Committees are key players in overseeing project implementation and addressing community issues associated with the implementation process.
- Advocacy Activities: GAMMUN regularly carried out advocacy activities at both state and local level to garner support for viral hepatitis intervention in Nasarawa State. This generated support for the proposed interventions. As a result, workable and sustainable solutions to access the health services available were developed based on the insights provided by community stakeholders.
- Strengthening the capacity of healthcare providers on viral hepatitis: 300 community health workers were trained on viral hepatitis screening/diagnosis, care and support services. This helped in patient referral and thus increased demand for treatment, especially at the PHCs.
- Increase access to hepatitis B screening: 2,000 female sex workers and 8,000 children (aged 5-17) obtained free tests. Many children born to mothers who test positive, but did not receive antiviral treatment at birth and are thus at risk of being infected, were screened for viral hepatitis B.
- Increased number of people in target locations visiting health facilities for hepatitis services (as evidenced by an increased number of visits to PHC facilities and reports by community health officers of number of patients seen).
- Increased confidence, reported by community health workers, in their ability to provide quality services and referrals to the communities which they serve (as evidenced by post-training surveys and post-project key informant interviews).
- Increased number of stakeholders supporting hepatitis services in their communities (as evidenced by an increased number of community sponsored hepatitis activities).
- Increased demand for hepatitis treatment options.
Interventions that build on existing community structures or help communities to develop their own structures in line with project goals provide sustainable solutions beyond the project lifecycle.
Private seed funding then taken over publicly.
Blessing Tulari, GAMMUN Center for Care and Development Nigeria