‘Smile for Them’
The Budi Lukmanto Foundation, an independent foundation with the goal to improve the health of children in Indonesia, cooperates with healthcare professionals and a private laboratory, Bio Medika, to provide immunization against viral hepatitis B, deliver screening for children and adolescents in low-resource settings, and raise awareness of hepatitis B among young people. On 19 March 2022, the Foundation conducted the ‘Smile for Them’ project which aims to improve HBV immunisation among vulnerable children at orphanages.
Viral hepatitis B prevalence in Indonesia remains high (especially among children from low-income families), and the virus has become one of the country’s deadliest diseases. With ‘Smile for Them’, the Foundation aims to ensure a long and healthy future for every child in Indonesia, including the most vulnerable.
The Foundation tested almost 3,000 children and, after finding that 81% had not been immunized, proceeded to vaccinate up to 2,500. Unfortunately, 2% of the children tested had already been infected with viral hepatitis B, which highlights the need to enhance immunization efforts amongst the most vulnerable. A total of 2,753 people have participated in the project so far, mostly orphaned children and young people aged 5-25. Most participants (2,379) needed to be either vaccinated or boosted.
Screening and vaccination took place at orphanages. Volunteer doctors visited the orphanages to provide education on the disease, to conduct tests and to offer vaccination to those in need. This decentralized approach to on-site awareness raising, testing and vaccination, targeted at vulnerable populations in orphanages, can greatly improve immunisation rates for viral hepatitis B and identify those in need of treatment.
Edhie Purwanto, Budi Lukmanto Foundation