Cheerful Hearts Foundation’s (‘CHF’) ‘Hepatitis B Screening and Vaccination Project’ (‘the project’) continues and has reached an important milestone – the completion of the full course of hepatitis B immuinisation for Primary class 4 (of 2013-2014), class 6 (of 2014-2015), and Junior High School (‘JHS’) class 1 (of 2014-2015) of Nyanyano District Assembly (‘D.A.’) Government School.
This brings the project to an important crossroads.
While the major project objectives have been successfully completed, that is, the screening and vaccination of the above three classes and the publication of child sponsorship profiles, the continuation of the project to meet the objective of screening and vaccinating further children is dependent on further funding. At this stage, despite its best fundraising efforts, CHF does not have sufficient funds to embark on a new round of screening and vaccination. CHF is also concerned that to date no hepatitis B positive children have been sponsored and so the cost of their medical treatment remains uncovered.
Please consider making a donation so that CHF can continue to screen and vaccinate children for hepatitis B and/or sponsor a child to cover the cost of his/her hepatitis B medical treatment: http://www.gofundme.com/co4m38
As set out in the project’s interim report of January 2015, the project was initiated in April 2014.
The project seeks to address the real and relevant problem of hepatitis B in the local Nyanyano community. The project focuses on addressing the gap in childhood immunisation against hepatitis B.
For more background regarding hepatitis B, prevalence in Ghana and Nyanyano, immunisation policy in Ghana, and costs and fundraising for the project, please see the interim report.
Again, as set out in the interim report, the project’s initial objective was:
- To screen and vaccinate about 300 to 400 children or classes 4, 5 and 6 of 2013-2014 of Nyanyano D.A. Government School for hepatitis B.
The project’s objectives since expanded to include:
- Assisting hepatitis B positive children to obtain medical treatment where required – through a child sponsorship program; and
- Continuing to screen and vaccinate children for hepatitis B, in Nyanyano D.A. Government School and beyond.
Final Screening and Vaccination Figures
Following the administration of the third and final vaccinations to class 6 and JHS 1 in February and April 2015, the final total figures are as follows:
- Three hundred and sixty three (363) persons (336 children and 27 teachers) screened for hepatitis B;
- Twenty one (21) persons (20 children and 1 teacher) tested positive for hepatitis B;
- Three hundred and thirteen (313) persons (287 children and 26 teachers) fully immunised by a course of three vaccinations against hepatitis B; and
- Two (2) children did not receive the second and third vaccinations, while twenty seven (27) children did not receive the third vaccination.
The figures for each individual class are as follows:
- Class 4 of 2013-2014 –
- One hundred and thirteen (113) persons (111 children and 2 teachers) screened for hepatitis B;
- Eleven (11) persons (all children) tested positive for hepatitis B;
- Eighty three (83) persons (81 children and 2 teachers) fully immunised by a course of three vaccinations against hepatitis B; and
- Two (2) children did not receive the second and third vaccinations, while seventeen (17) children did not receive the third vaccination.
- Class 6 of 2014-2015 –
- One hundred and forty one (141) persons (125 children* and 16 teachers) screened for hepatitis B;
- Four (4) persons (all children) tested positive for hepatitis B;
- One hundred and thirty two (132) persons (116 children* and 16 teachers) fully immunised by a course of three vaccinations against hepatitis B; and
- Five (5) children did not receive the third vaccination.
* Note that 13 of these children are from class 5 of 2014-2015
- JHS 1 of 2014-2015 –
- One hundred and nine (109) persons (100 children and 9 teachers) screened for hepatitis B;
- Six (6) persons (5 children and 1 teacher) tested positive for hepatitis B;
- Ninety eight (98) persons (90 children and 8 teachers) fully immunised by a course of three vaccinations against hepatitis B; and
- Five (5) children did not receive the third vaccination.
These figures show a 6% prevalence of hepatitis B amongst the entire sample screened, both in terms of total persons (21 positive out of 363 persons screened) and of children only (20 positive out of 336 children screened).
It is heartening that there is a relatively low incidence of hepatitis B in the sample, particularly considering the estimated prevalence of 13% within the Ghanaian population. However, this rate is still concerning as hepatitis B is easily and simply preventable through immunisation and its effects can be significant including leading to death.
Another notable figure set out above is the number of children who received first and/or second vaccinations but were subsequently absent or had stopped attending school and so did not receive their third and final vaccination. This is a concern as full immunisation requires a course of three vaccinations. CHF made its best efforts to encourage these children to attend for the vaccinations and even sought out some children in their homes.
Child Sponsorship Program
The child sponsorship program seeks to obtain sponsors who will cover the costs of medical treatment for children who have tested positive for hepatitis B. The cost of medical consultation and drug therapy can be prohibitive to treatment for many local families. CHF contracted partner, the Alpha-Aleem Centre, has offered to provide the required treatment at a reduced rate, and the sponsorship program seeks to cover this rate.
As noted above, unfortunately, no children have been sponsored to date.
Sponsorship profiles for the twenty (20) hepatitis B positive children have been developed. Currently, nineteen (19) profiles have been published online and distributed to CHF’s networks. The remaining one (1) profile has not yet been published as consent for publication from the child and parent/guardian is still being obtained.
Please consider sponsoring a child to cover the cost of hepatitis B medical treatment: http://www.gofundme.com/co4m38
Future of the Project
While the key objectives of the project have been achieved, there remains the objective and desire to screen and vaccinate additional children in the Nyanyano area and beyond.
This objective can only be pursued if significant further fundraising can be obtained. CHF has sought such from its supporters and wider network. However, at this stage the project cannot proceed and may be retired.
If you are interested in supporting the continuation of the project or otherwise partnering with CHF, please contact CHF directly by email to firstname.lastname@example.org; or donate or sponsor a child at http://www.gofundme.com/co4m38
For further project details see the interim report of January 2015 (available on CHF’s website) and the regular project updates provided on http://www.gofundme.com/co4m38