Activities

The Waiting Room Project

The Waiting Room Project is an educational program designed to teach patients about Hepatitis B virus. In resource poor settings, patients and their families often wait for a variable period of
time in the lobby of medical facilities to receive care. We aim to take advantage of that period of time and provide education to patients and their families about Hepatitis B virus.
In order to effectively provide information, we briefly tell the audience the reason for discussing Hepatitis B virus. This allows us to emphasize its high prevalence in communities across the continent and its role in causing hepatocellular (liver) cancer. After that, we provide a short survey to patients that assesses their awareness of transmission and knowledge of serostatus and vaccination status of Hepatitis B virus.
After collecting the surveys, we use the questions as an outline to educate patients and families on the symptoms, mode of transmission, treatment, and most importantly, methods of prevention of Hepatitis B virus.
The reception thus far has been very positive with most patients and families intrigued about the virus since they have never heard of it. The questions that we have received most commonly pertain to the origins of the virus, options for a cure once the disease is contracted, and determining vaccination status. We have initially focused on patients in waiting rooms in cancer centers, as they are at higher risk of reactivation if the virus is present, but expect to expand to individuals waiting to receive care in a variety of settings across Africa.
We believe that this project has already encouraged patients and families to seek more information about Hepatitis B virus and it has the potential to cause a ripple effect which may lead to increased community-wide awareness of the disease and hopefully, increased vaccination rates.
If you are interested in learning more about the project of being part of it, please contact us. We can send you materials and guidance on how to implement it in your clinic or hospital.

Dr. Shemal Shah during a hepatitis teaching session in the waiting room of KCMC Cancer Center in Moshi, Tanzania