Hepatitis B and C Screening During the 2019 World Hepatitis Day at Cosmopolitan Mall in Lusaka, Zambia.

Authors: Tracy Naomi Phiri*1, Kalo Musukuma-Chifulo1, Michelo Simuyandi1, Caroline C. Chisenga1, Peter Alabi1, Sody Munsaka2, Michael Vinikoor1 Roma Chilengi,1  1Centre for Infectious Disease Research in Zambia, Lusaka, Zambia 2Department of Biomedical Sciences, School of Health Sciences, University of Zambia, Lusaka, Zambia Corresponding Author*: Tracy.Phiri@cidrz.org

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Citation Style For This Article: Phiri TN, Musukuma-Chifulo K, Simuyandi M, et al . Hepatitis B and C Screening During the 2019 World Hepatitis Day at Cosmopolitan Mall in Lusaka, Zambia. . Health Press Zambia Bull. 2020; 4(4); pp 20


Viral hepatitis is the leading cause of liver cirrhosis and liver cancer in Africa. The prevalence of chronic hepatitis B virus (HBV) infection in the Zambian population is around 3.5 % (0-59 years) and can be as high as 12.3% in the HIV-positive adult population whilst that of the hepatitis C virus (HCV) is <1%. Most cases of Fibrosis, Cirrhosis, and Hepatocellular carcinoma are caused by HBV and HCV. Sadly, most people that have viral hepatitis especially type B and C may not know until they have developed liver disease.


On the 28th of July 2019, Zambia celebrated World Hepatitis Day, a day that saw the screening of 148 individuals at Cosmopolitan Mall in Lusaka for both hepatitis B surface antigen (HBsAg) and hepatitis C antibodies. This was done using the ALLTEST Rapid Diagnostic Test kits (manufactured by AllBIOTECH). Demographic information and general knowledge of hepatitis B data were collected using a pre-tested data capture form. All data collected was presented in tables and analyzed using STATAä, version 14.


Though 61% of our participants had heard about hepatitis B, very few knew their HBV status (16.0%), and only 7.7% were vaccinated. Occupation (p = 0.001) and education (p = 0.002) were significantly associated with knowledge of HBV while there was no association between vaccination status and ever been tested with any factors assessed. The majority of our participants were female and only 4 (4.3%) tested positive for HBsAg, and none was positive for HCV. All hepatitis B positives were males aged between 35 and 45 years. All were married except 1; two were self-employed and one was in informal employment. One was co-infected with HIV whereas the other three had HBV only. All were asymptomatic and previously unaware of their infection. All three mono-infected individuals had normal Full Blood Count (FBC), as well as the Liver Function Test (LFT) results. However, the abdominal ultrasound that was done in one showed mild fibrosis.


In conclusion, these findings are suggestive of a lack of sensitization and awareness, low rates of HBV screening, and vaccination. Only males were positive despite testing more females. While this is possible because of a small and potentially biased sample, the male sex has been linked to higher HBV positivity than females. It is also of great public health importance as they were all asymptomatic and potentially infectious and at risk of developing liver complications. There is a need for frequent screening for both HCV and HBV and making HBV vaccines available and affordable.

Up to five keywords; Prevalence; Hepatitis B and C; World hepatitis day; general population; knowledge