HepB0: Silent No More
Motswedi Anderson is a SANTHE Postdoctoral Fellow at Botswana Harvard AIDS Institute Partnership. Her research interests are in viral hepatitis (B, C, D and E) and human immunodeficiency virus. She completed her PhD in Biological Sciences in 2018 and her project was ‘Prevalence and molecular characterization of hepatitis B virus infection in Botswana’. She did BSc. in Biomedical Sciences at the University of KwaZulu Natal, Durban, South Africa in 2005. She has been with Botswana Harvard AIDS Institute Partnership since 2006 and aspires to be a renowned researcher playing a key role in viral hepatitis elimination.
HepB0: Silent No More
Mortality due to viral hepatitis has been on the rise, and the greatest burden is due to hepatitis B virus (HBV) which kills around 887,000 people per annum. There is little knowledge about HBV among the community. Here, we aim to gauge knowledge and perspectives towards HBV and HBV research in Botswana. We plan to target 18 to 40-year-old adults from Universities. These were chosen because most of the HBV infections in Africa are postulated to be acquired during childhood and since HBV takes about 20 to 40 years to progress this is the group which might need interventions. Current HBV research is also on adults hence they are within the bracket of the ongoing research hence their feedback is invaluable. Furthermore, they include women of childbearing age who carry a risk of transmitting HBV to their infants who conversely have a 90% chance of developing chronic HBV infection. This will be initiated by meeting with key stakeholders such as Ministry of Health and Wellness representatives, University administrators and community representatives to ensure that our engagement activities such as discussion points are people-centred and are tailored in a most effective way. The knowledge and attitudes towards HBV research and HBV will be gauged through questionnaires and verbal assessments. The ongoing HBV research project and some concepts of HBV will be shared with the target groups through talks, posters, artworks and disseminated through social media. Effectiveness of the project will be measured through surveys, and participant referrals. We hope this will assist in understanding perspectives and needs of community members in HBV research. It will further enhance the participant’s informed knowledge and autonomy in participating in research, using research results, and accessing/requesting health care services.