Hepatitis Awareness Program

Cancer is increasingly recognized as a critical public health problem in Africa. While communicable diseases continue to burden African populations, it is becoming clear that non-communicable diseases also require the attention of those whose goal it is to ensure the health of Africans. Increases in life expectancy, changes in diet and lifestyle, and lower burden of communicable diseases promise to increase the cancer burden in Africa over the coming years. Zurak Cancer Foundation's aim is to educate individuals about cancer, create awareness, support cancer patients and advocate for cancer in Ghana and Africa. Zurak Cancer Foundation is tackling cervical cancer, liver cancer/ hepatitis virus, prostate cancer and breast cancer. To tackle the hepatitis virus, Zurak Cancer Foundation organized free hepatitis screening and awareness programs in Accra to foster prevention programs and also encourage individuals in the various communities to foster healthy lifestyles.

CAMPAIGN OBJECTIVES

* Promote health screening among communities.
* Create awareness about the hepatitis virus and its relationship with liver cancer.
* Encourage individuals to foster healthy lifestyles to prevent cancer.
* Encourage individuals and stakeholders to join hands in the fight against cancer.

HOW THE OBJECTIVES WERE ACHIEVED

* Zurak Cancer Foundation organized hepatitis virus screening in collaboration with Amen Scientific Herbal Hospital and the International Health Care Center.
* Zurak Cancer Foundation organized education programs to create awareness about the hepatitis virus and its relationship with cancer.

CAMPAIGN INNOVATIONS

With support from the community leaders, the campaign targeted two communities in Accra; Madina and Nima. These communities were targeted due to the large population and high illiteracy rates within the community.

CAMPAIGN IMPACT

* Community individuals understood that they need to foster healthy lifestyles in order to guard themselves against cancer and other non-communicable diseases.
* Nine individuals tested positive for the virus and Zurak Cancer Foundation is working with an organization from Germany to provide free treatment for the patients.
* The community comrades understood the concept of hepatitis virus and the need to participate in community-based screenings to frequently check their status.

CHALLENGES FACED

* Funding: Inadequate funding to support the initiative limited the campaign to Accra and some selected communities. The leader of the organization financed projects without any support.
* Illiteracy: Due to the high illiteracy rate in the various communities, Zurak Cancer Foundation had a problem getting community members to understand the concept of the campaign and also participate.

* Zurak Cancer Foundation had a problem with media campaigns and reaching out due to inadequate funds to pay for media outreach.

LESSONS LEARNT

* Zurak Cancer Foundation has developed an initiative to start their campaigns in the local language in order to reach out to the masses instead of the educated elites.

* Zurak Cancer Foundation has also started the provision of initiatives to tackle media outreach through social media platforms.