Public health partnership launched to tackle hepatitis C

Staff Reporter

The Drugs for Neglected Diseases initiative (DNDi), Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF), FIND, the global alliance for diagnostics, and the Treatment Action Group are joining forces to tackle a‘silent’ public health injustice: the continuing disparities in access to diagnostics and treatment for the hepatitis C virus (HCV) in low and middle-income countries, home to 75% of those living with this viral illness.

In Pakistan, Hepatitis C virus is a major public health burden. It infections usually are asymptomatic, often go undiagnosed and can develop into a severe chronic disease.

To help address this, Médecins Sans Frontières has developed a simplified model of care, providing diagnostic, treatment, health education and patient support services at a primary healthcare level under one roof.

Through its cumulative expertise and independence, the new partnership will build collaborations with countries and community and civil society groups and develop evidence to support ambitious test-and-treat programmes while addressing HCV financing obstacles.

The Hepatitis C PACT will make best use of countries’ strategic capacity to increase access to HCV care globally.

Anna Cilliers, MSF Head of mission in Pakistan in a statement said: According to an estimation 10-15 million persons in Pakistan are infected with Hepatitis C Virus.

MSF have been working in collaboration with the provincial and national Hepatitis C initiatives in order to increase awareness about hepatitis C prevention and to increase access to testing and treatment.

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