2023 World Hepatitis Alliance Regional Board Member Elections
Below are the regions where regional board member candidates have been nominated.
Candidates biographies and personal statements are included.
Candidates will need to receive votes in order to begin their two-year term, beginning January 1 2024.
Voting will open for AFRO, EMRO and WPRO candidates on Monday 27 November 2023 and will close midnight GMT on Sunday 10 December 2023. Voting members will be emailed details on how to take part. If you have not received an email, please contact us at email@example.com.
Envoh Okolo – Nigeria
AFRO regional board member candidate
Executive Director/Founder – Beacon Youth Initiative
Envoh Emmanuel Okolo was born 24th March, 1988 in Nasarawa state, Nigeria. He has a background in medical microbiology and a development expert with public health background and actively into Activism, a patient advocate for the past 13 years. Happily married and blessed with three kids. He serves as the Executive Director/Founder of Beacon Youth Initiative (BYI) He led this organization since 2011. The organization focus on promoting the right of people living with Viral Hepatitis/HIV, advocating for evidence based Hepatitis policies, providing Hepatitis/HIV and Sexual Reproductive Health and Right services to over 10 Million key population and general population.
Envoh’s personal statement
Envoh Emmanuel Okolo is the Executive Director/Founder of Beacon Youth Initiative (BYI) Nigeria, Membership Coordinator of the Nigeria Hepatitis Network, and the State Chapter Secretary of Civil Society Scaling-up Nutrition in Nigeria, The Steering Committee Chairman for the creation of African Hepatitis Alliance. He is public health expert that is into active Activism, a patient advocate for the past 13 years. He led this organization since 2011. The organization focus on promoting the right of people living with Viral Hepatitis/HIV, advocating for evidence based Hepatitis policies, providing Hepatitis/HIV and Sexual Reproductive Health and Right services to over 7 Million key population and general population which include screening, vaccination, advocacy, awareness/sensitization, creating access to treatment services by facilitating easy access to care and policies development.
He hold a Bachelor Degree in MicroBiology and M.Sc in View in Medical MicroBiology. At the Nigeria Federal Ministry of Health, he has since been involved in the development of Hepatitis C costed implementation plan for Nigeria, Development of National Guideline on the Prevention, Treatment and Care on Viral Hepatitis B and C, Development of Training Protocols on Viral Hepatitis for HealthCare Workers in Nigeria and development of many policies document both Locally, Nationally and Internationally in the thematic areas of the organization.
He has since 2011 advocated and created access to Hepatitis intervention through awareness, media chats/publication, Media conference, training of HealthCare Workers, advocacy, diagnosis, vaccination program of Hepatitis B, referrals for treatment and care to over 3million people in Nigeria.
He also served in several board position which include: Centre for Hepatitis Advocacy, Prevention and Health Initiative, African Hepatitis Elimination Association and many others.
In March 2018, He was named the first Nohep Couple by the World Hepatitis Alliance where He used his wedding to advocate for the elimination of Viral Hepatitis in Nigeria.
Envoh Emmanuel Okolo is a Nigerian accomplished development and Public health expert on a mission to create an enabling environment for sustainable peaceful co-existence, Prevention of violence extremism targeting the youth as drivers to perpetuate violence activities aimed at destruction of lives and properties and attainment of health for the excluded and vulnerable populations (Youth). Envoh is a leading voice for Health and Humanitarian challenges in Nigeria and uses his platform to advocate for the most vulnerable populations across Africa. He wants to change the narrative about violence and raise awareness about the deadliness of the disease.
He works primarily in a developmental sector on viral hepatitis and other diseased areas contributing to improving the health of his targeted vulnerable groups. He has a background in Medical microbiology, with over 13 years-experience in public health and advocacy.
In 2006, he tested positive for Hepatitis B when the National Blood Transfusion in Nigeria came requesting for blood donors. I was then devastated because no or little about the virus is known with inadequate services available on diagnosis and treatment due to poor political will from government on the diseased area. That experiences gave me renewed hope/burning desire to change the narrative in hepatitis spaces and other diseased areas to save lives which obliged me to form a patient-led and community based organization, Beacon Youth Initiative (BYI), to create awareness and mobilize human and financial resources to provide free hepatitis B and C testing to underserved groups and the general population in Nigeria including hard to reach communities.
A member of the Nasarawa State Technical Working Group on Viral Hepatitis where he uses his advocacies driving skills to amplify the patients voice and demand responsiveness of government and other relevant partners to the fight against viral hepatitis. This has offered Beacon Youth Initiative the opportunity to expand its collaboration and partnership with government and other partners in commemorating yearly World Hepatitis Day since 2017 to date.
Envoh Emmanuel Okolo serve in so many leadership position which some of it include the Executive State Secretary of Civil Society Scaling Up Nutrition in Nigeria, Steering National Committee Chairman of Civil Society on Viral Hepatitis Nigeria, State Coordinator of Nasarawa State Network on Environment and Climate Justice, The Steering Committee Chairman for the creation of African Hepatitis Alliance. etc.
He has received many capacity building training and worked funded projects from many partners such as ActionAid Nigeria, Institute of Human Virology, Africa Union, USAID, UNDP, Giz, IOM, Global Community Engagement Resilience Fund, RuRCON and many others on Peace and conflicts resolution, mediation, Preventing Violence Extremisms, Mental Health and Psychosocial support for conflicts victims/Boko Haram victims, promoting climate Justice in Nasarawa state etc which he used such technical skills to train and built the capacity of community led down structures in addressing conflicts.
He has also recently worked on sustaining peace and tolerance in urban settings, amplifying the role of youth in supporting covid-19 response in Nasarawa state, Nigeria. A project funded by UNDP/BBYDI.
Ibrahima Gueye – Senegal
AFRO regional board member candidate
Honorary President – Saafara Hépatites Sénégal
Ibrahima Gueye is the founding president of the Saafara HépatitIS Senegal Association, he is also a member of the boards of directors of the African Liver Patient Association (ALPA) and the Hepatitis Francophonie African Alliance (AAFHé). He is also a member of the HDV CAB and WHO.
Co-infected with HDV and HBV, he has just had a liver transplant. Today he has become negative for HBV and has decided to devote the rest of his life to the fight against hepatitis.
Ibrahima’s personal statement
I am Ibrahima Gueye Founding President of the Saafara Hepatitis Senegal Association. After 10 years at the head of the said association, I passed the baton to Ms. Fatou Nguirane and I became the honorary president.
Very young infected, it was in 2010 that I really knew my status because I was diagnosed positive for HBV in 2010, then superinfected in 2011 with delta.
My health ended up deteriorating before I benefited from a first operation by chemo embolization in 2017 and a second by liver transplantation in 2021. Today my cancer is cured and my Aghbs negative.
However, despite my illness, I never gave up and on the contrary I no longer thought for myself but for the community because I had ended up understanding that it was a public health problem.
This is how I created the Saafara Hépatites association in 2010 to put myself at the service of patients, their entourage and populations.
Since then I have internationalized the fight by joining the boards of directors of 2 large African associations: ALPA and AAFHé where I acquired a lot of experience and a good contact card with African patients suffering from hepatitis.
This is how I decided to submit my candidacy for the position of representative of the AFRO zone on the board of directors of the World Hepatitis Alliance for this upcoming election.
Once elected, I will invest without sparing any effort in the smooth running of the WHO and I will respect my commitments to the said institution for its proper functioning.
AAFHÉ – Vincent Zoungdjiekpon
“I am Vincent Zoundjiekpon, hepato-gastroenterologist, founding member and honorary president of the non-governmental organization Healthy Liver Benin (FoSaB), head physician of the Digestive Endoscopy Unit of the University Faculty of Olomouc-Czech Republic. I would like to testify to the serenity, responsibility, hard work and loyalty of Mr. Ibrahima Gueye with whom I have had the honor of working and collaborating in recent years in the fight against viral hepatitis in Africa. I can only say that there is no better candidate to represent Africa in the WHA. That’s why I recommend him to be a candidate for the AFRO zone within the WHA.”
SenB and Ambass projects – Moussa Seydi
“I am Professor Moussa Seydi, Head of the Infectious and Tropical Diseases at Fann Hospital, Head of the Department of Infectious Diseases at Cheikh anta Diop University and Member of the National Academy of Sciences and Techniques of Senegal (ANSTS) I want do a testimony about Ibrahima Guèye. Mr. Ibrahima GUEYE led the Safara hepatitis association with the objective of fighting against hepatitis and obtaining equity in patient care. I was able to see all those years how he won his fight against hepatitis B, hepatitis Delta, cirrhosis and liver cancer he suffered from. During this painful fight he was never discouraged. In the same way he was always fighting against hepatitis as much he could on his hospital bed. He has always considered the fight against hepatitis as an absolute priority. He deserves to be part of the world top management of the fight against hepatitis B. Pr Moussa SEYDI”.
Saafara Hépatites – Fatou Nguirane
“Mr Ibrahima Gueye is a Senegalese citizen suffering from hepatitis B and D. His beginnings were extremely difficult due to the exorbitant cost of treatment. Being aware of the difficulties of patients like him, he launched into the fight against Hepatitis to save human lives. And it was on this occasion that I had to meet him and thanks to his commitment and dedication, participated in my training and propelled me forward to support him in the fight against Hepatitis.
Tireless, he never ceases to surprise us because even in his operating bed he never stopped coordinating the activities of Saafara Hepatitis Senegal. Together we are serving patients today”.
Theobald Owusu-Ansah – Ghana
AFRO regional board member candidate
Hepatitis Foundation of Ghana
Theobald holds a Diploma in Network Engineering, Certificate in Database Design and Administrator, CompTIA N+ Certification, a Bachelor Degree in Accounting and information Systems and currently doing his Master’s Degree in Cyber Security and Digital Forensic at Kwame Nkrumah University of Science Technology.
Theobald is passionate and committed to the eradication of human suffering and lack of unbiased information and support available to Hepatitis patients in Africa and Ghana. As a result, he founded the Hepatitis Foundation of Ghana in 2007 to champion the cause of carriers of the hepatitis virus in Ghana and beyond.
To coordinate activities of NGO’s working in the field of viral hepatitis in Ghana, in 2013 He created Hepatitis Coalition of Ghana. Theobald has written six articles on viral hepatitis for publication online.
Theobald’s personal statement
I began the Hepatitis foundation of Ghana primarily to create the awareness of viral hepatitis first in my family, my community and country at large. Little did I know I was going to be a very instrumental patient voice in my country Ghana. I started the Hepatitis foundation of Ghana in 2007 after I lost 4 relations to the disease and tested positive. Out of determination to prevent further deaths, I started my campaign with individuals, groups and organizations.
In Ghana, and many other countries of Africa, the only hepatitis B vaccines available for free are the PENTA vaccines that contain vaccines for hepatitis B, diphtheria and other diseases. These combination vaccines are mostly administered to the baby at age six, ten and fourteen weeks old. This obviously is not the best way to go about it.
When approved as board member, I will use my office as board member to work more closely with all patient organizations in the region to advocate to the various gorvernments for the inclusion of the of the hepatitis B birth dose in our expanded programs of immunizations since this is the surest way to go. In my country Ghana and similarly to other countries in the African region, Most of the Africa countries have a national viral hepatitis control programme and a national guideline for prevention, care and treatment of viral hepatitis. However, the full implementation of the national guideline is yet to be funded by the various governments. As a result, voluntary testing for hepatitis B currently requires out-of-pocket payment. With my skill in resource mobilization and fund raising, I will lead the process of securing grants through proposal writing and networking. I will personally negotiated treatment and diagnosis cost with some of the local pharmaceutical companies and laboratories to reduce their profit margin to enable affordability.
In the year 2010, I was the first board member elected to represent Africa Region. During my time as a board member World Hepatitis Alliance membership were increased drastically and also World Hepatitis Day were celebrated in most of the Africa countries. During my time as a board member, I organized three hepatitis meetings in Nigeria and Abidjan.
An effective hepatitis response requires robust and flexible health systems that can sustainably deliver patient-centered care across the full continuum of services to those populations, locations and settings in greatest need. Affected populations can also act as a powerful force in addressing; Discrimination, Criminalization and harmful Socioeconomic and Cultural norms.
In the spirit of decent work and respect for the human rights and dignity of persons infected or affected by Hepatitis B, there should be no discrimination against workers on the basis of real or perceived Hepatitis B status. Discrimination and stigmatization of people living with Hepatitis B inhibits efforts aimed at promoting Hepatitis B prevention. The successful implementation of a Hepatitis policy and program requires cooperation and trust between employers, workers and their representatives and government, and, where appropriate, with the active involvement of workers infected and affected by Hepatitis. To address this issue I joined Hepatitis Anti-Discrimination Working Group to address and document hepatitis B discrimination as well as strategically plan advocacy and action items on this issue.
I have been a patient leader in addressing hepatitis B and have developed a comprehensive model program to expand hepatitis B testing, vaccination, and treatment services.
I have extensive experience with diverse roles, activities and issues across Africa. I am a strategic thinker, an effective advocate and a proven problem-solver, with an ability to assess and address critical issues in the context of both the short and long-term.
For Africa to win the fight against hepatitis, we will need strong political will; universal birth vaccination for all new-born babies; massive awareness efforts on radio, television and other media platforms; and free vaccination along with free screening for people especially the rural areas.
Having the chance to join the board again at a time that it is well organized and positioned will give me a better opportunity to sustain the momentum of the elimination agenda by 2030.
Gamal Shiha– Egypt
EMRO regional board member candidate
Chairman – Association of Liver Patients Care (ALPC)
Gamal’s personal statement
Dee Lee– China
WPRO regional board member candidate
Director – Inno Asia
-Chair of Steering Group of International Liver Cancer Movement since 2023
-Fellow of Asia Society since 2014
-Testimonial speaker of World Hepatitis Summit Glasgow
-Member of CEVHAP
-Member of ICEHBV
-Director of Inno Community Development Organisation from 2007-2022
-Director of Inno Asia since 2023
Dee’s personal statement
pain and the shame have embedded in my life for my experience dealing with the stigma and discrimination.
Seeing the injustice of the hepatitis patients who can not get the access to treatment and people living with hepatitis who are sacked for their blood test, I have nothing but the courage to stand out working together with my team, my community and the Alliance. From 2010-2014, I worked with my team to eliminate the HBV screening
policy in 200 factories covering more than 1 million workers directly. In 2016, I joined the then WHA president
Charles Gore in Geneva to finalise the introduction of Viral Hepatitis in GHSS with the goal of ending hepatitis
before 2030. I spoke in dozens of seminars to raise awareness of hepatitis mainly on but not limited to stigma and
discrimination. Also more than 20 of my journals have been published with the support of the community and
experts to put a strong linkage between stigma/discrimination and treatment/access to care.
WPRO board member. During this time, I start worrying about the slowing-down process of functional cure of
HBV, the hidden discrimination cases costing lives on a daily basis in Asia, the siloed situation for the community
and, of course, my HBV status that could turn me into a liver cancer patient. Being in China is not enough, fighting
stigma and discrimination is not enough and raising awareness is not enough. I need to stand out again to work
with the community, WHA team and especially our members to push the functional cure process and reduce the
stigma and discrimination in case they won’t be barriers of the elimination of Viral Hepatitis