Bright Ansah
Bright Ansah
(Photo Provided)

Mr. Bright Ansah has been unable to work since 2016. He is living with debilitating fatigue and muscular pain caused by Hepatitis B, which is a liver infection resulting from the Hepatitis B virus. Despite the availability of an effective vaccine, the World Health Organization reports that nearly 300 million individuals around the world live with chronic Hepatitis B. Symptoms of Hepatitis B are burdensome on those living with the disease, ranging from extreme fatigue, decreased appetite, pain, nausea, and jaundice. As with most individuals living with the disease, Bright says that symptom relief is difficult to find because pain medications can cause further damage to the liver.

Bright volunteers with organizations including the Hepatitis B Foundation and Hepatitis B Initiative of Washington, D.C. (HBI-DC), attending events that allow him to engage with the community and stakeholders on the importance of education and raising awareness of Hepatitis B.

Through the Hepatitis B Foundation, Bright is part of the #justB campaign that encourages those living with the disease to share their story to increase advocacy for Hepatitis B issues, fight the stigma, and encourage the community to get tested and vaccinated. The foundation has given him the opportunity to speak on webinars and at meetings and participate in the Hepatitis B Community Advisory Board. Through this advocacy work, Bright has participated in fundraising efforts and campaigns to maintain Hepatitis B medication coverage through health insurance companies.

Bright learned about the Peer Reviewed Medical Research Program (PRMRP) through his work with the Hepatitis B Foundation. The foundation’s president nominated Bright to apply to the PRMRP as a consumer reviewer on the peer review panel for Hepatitis B, which has been a part of the program since fiscal year 2015 (FY15). Bright applied and was invited to serve as a consumer reviewer in FY22. In this role, Bright was able to share his unique perspective as an advocate and give a voice to the community of individuals living with Hepatitis B.

“My personal views and that of the hepatitis community were freely shared without feeling judged or being ignored or looked down upon,” Bright said. “We all have a voice, but it's not everyone that gets a seat at the table. Let your voice represent the entire community affected when given a chance.”

Prior to participating as a consumer reviewer, Bright struggled to understand why a cure for Hepatitis B has not been achieved. Serving on a peer review panel has given him new understanding of the challenges faced by the scientific community to find a cure.

“I have a better appreciation of the work being done, and the dedication of some special scientists working hard behind the scenes to find a cure,” Bright said. “This gives me hope that one day a cure will be found and made available to help us all.”

The views, opinions, and/or findings contained in this paper are those of the author(s) and should not be construed as an official Department of the Army position, policy, or decision.

Last updated Tuesday, April 11, 2023