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Last week, we launched an open letter which urges every government in the world to prioritise the elimination of hepatitis. In just under a week, the open letter has already received over 250 signatures! Thank you to everyone who has added their name. Haven’t signed it yet? With just a few clicks, you can ask your government to prioritise hepatitis.
Every month, we bring you an inspiring NOhep supporter who’s playing a key role in the elimination of hepatitis. This month, we bring you Sheikh Omar Bittaye – a diligent NOhep Medical Visionary who works in various areas to help eliminate hepatitis in The Gambia.
Despite the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, it is encouraging to see many countries still taking positive steps towards the elimination of viral hepatitis. Find out how Ukraine and Australia are working towards eliminating hepatitis C.
If you’re interested in being featured as a NOhep Supporter Spotlight or have any updates or activities you’d like to share with the rest of the movement, please email firstname.lastname@example.org. We’d love to hear from you!
New NOhep Campaign
In 2016, every government in the world made a commitment to eliminate viral hepatitis by 2030. With less than 10 years to go, only a handful of countries are on track to eliminate hepatitis C, and progress towards eliminating hepatitis B is lagging globally.
Now, it’s up to us to hold our governments to account and urge them to keep their promise to eliminate viral hepatitis.
Supporter Spotlight: Sheikh Omar Bittaye
After realising that many young people were dying from hepatitis-related complications, Sheikh Omar Bittaye made it his mission to learn more about the virus. From engaging in high-level advocacy to organising outreach screening activities, Sheikh is now at the forefront of elimination in The Gambia. Read about his incredible work here.
Articles and stories
What COVID-19 Teaches Us About Infectious Diseases and What We Can Learn from Viral Hepatitis
“As we advocate for testing, care, and treatment for COVID-19, let us not forget that these same interventions exist for many diseases, including viral hepatitis, yet remain out of reach for many.”
In this article, NOhep Medical Visionary Dr Su Wang looks at how the lessons we have learned from the fight against hepatitis can be applied to the COVID-19 response, and examines the disparities between the unified global commitment to tackling COVID-19 and the responses to eliminating other infectious diseases.
Increasing access to hepatitis C treatment in Ukraine
Three years ago, Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) set out on a mission to deliver hepatitis C treatment in the Mykolaiv region of Ukraine, an area with high rates of the virus. With their goals achieved, MSF are now handing over the project to local health authorities.
Before the project began, the available treatment for hepatitis C in Ukraine had only a 50 per cent success rate and lasted up to 72 weeks. By offering an alternative, shorter and more effective treatment, MSF recorded a cure rate of almost 94 per cent in Mykolaiv!
“Hepatitis C can be cured with highly effective treatment, but access to diagnostics and treatment remains limited, especially for vulnerable communities,” says Dr Nazgul Samieva, MSF Medical Coordinator in Ukraine.
Determined to avoid halting progress during the COVID-19 pandemic, local teams are delivering medication by post and offering support by phone.
Australia is moving forward towards the elimination of hepatitis C in people who inject drugs
After the healthcare system in Australia started providing unrestricted access to direct-acting antiviral (DAA) treatment for hepatitis C, the country saw a rise in treatment uptake among people who inject drugs (PWID). As a result, Australia is making good progress towards eliminating hepatitis C among PWID.
An observational study of PWID attending drug treatment clinics and needle and syringe programmes (NSP) was conducted, which asked participants to complete a questionnaire and self-report their treatment history. This study revealed that, among people who had ever had hepatitis C, the receipt of treatment was 41 per cent lower among those experiencing homelessness and 49 per cent lower among PWID. However unrestricted DAA access has led to increased treatment uptake and a significant decline in prevalence of the virus among PWID attending drug treatment centres and NSPs.
“To achieve elimination, PWID with greater marginalisation may require additional support and tailored strategies to enhance treatment”, the study authors concluded.