1 out of every 5 people in Solomon Islands has hepatitis B


Solomon Island has the highest burden of hepatitis B in the Western Pacific region estimated at 20% and hepatitis C at only 1%.

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Dr Jackson Rakei, Director STI/HIV/HEP said approximately 1 out of every 5 people in Solomon Islands has hepatitis B. An estimated 53,000 -79,000 people are living with hepatitis B in the country. It is the sixth most common cause of death at our National Referral Hospital and ranks 4 in all causes of cancers in country.

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He said with this, the Ministry of Health in its efforts to curb hepatitis B burden have embedded the hepatitis program into the STI/HIV national strategic plan 2019 -2023 which is being supported by WHO.

“Next year there are priority action areas for elimination of hepatitis in the country and the program will embark on triple elimination of hepatitis B, HIV and Syphilis next year. First is prevent whereby birth and infant vaccination must be taken by all children, blood donations must be screened for hepatitis and improving access to safe injections”,

“Second is that testing and screening to be implemented at most clinics and should be done on pregnant mothers, family and household of someone with chronic hepatitis B, health care workers, people on dialysis, sex workers, men who have sex with men and people living with HIV and or hepatitis C. Third is treatment. Treatment is now available at NRH. Those on treatment have recovered well and living a healthy life. Adherence to treatment is the ultimate key factor for recovery and the first step is to get tested”, explained Dr Rakei.

The Ministry of Health with support from ASHM (Australasian Society for HIV, Viral Hepatitis and Sexual Health Medicine) have commenced roll out of training for health professional on Hepatitis B in health settings with the program aimed for roll out to the provinces next year.


“With this, may I sincerely acknowledge the government of Australia for supporting the hepatitis program through its Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT) and WHO for the ongoing technical support”, said Dr Rakei.

The event concluded with a one- hour talk back show with WHO, MHMS health experts and relevant health officers continuing awareness around hepatitis and engaging with the public through question and answer session.

The Ministry of Health is urging people who have hepatitis to come forward for COVID-19 vaccination as this medical condition like diabetes, hypertension and all other underlying health conditions makes a person more vulnerable to severe effects of COVID-19 and death by COVID-19.

Last week, the Ministry of Health and Medical Services (MHMS) together with WHO and partners for the first time held a small but wide reaching, informative session at the Solomon Islands Broadcasting Cooperation (SIBC) on Hepatitis to commemorate the World Hepatitis Day in Solomon Islands.

What is hepatitis?

Hepatitis is an inflammation of the liver that if left untreated can lead to death. Viral infection of the liver that are classified as hepatitis includes hepatitis A, B, C, D and E. A different virus is responsible for each type of virally transmitted hepatitis.

Hepatitis A, is always an acute short- term disease while hepatitis B, C and D are the most likely to become ongoing and chronic infections. Hepatitis E is usually acute but can be particularly dangerous amongst pregnant women.

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