NOhep Medical professional Visionaries

Asia Pacific Region

Are you a medical professional working in the field of hepatitis and are taking actions to eliminate this global killer? If so, we invite you to join other medical professionals from across the world who have committed to taking actions to accelerate this goal.

Dr. Ding-Shinn Chen

Ding-Shinn Chen, M.D., born on July 6, 1943 in Taiwan, graduated from National Taiwan University College of Medicine (NTUCM) in 1968. Dr. Chen completed his training in internal medicine and gastroenterology at National Taiwan University Hospital in 1973.  He joined the faculty of Department of Internal Medicine, NTUCM as a lecturer in 1975. Since then, he has focused his research on viral hepatitis and liver disease, which are extremely common in Taiwan.  He spent some time abroad for research, 1975 in National Cancer Center Research Institute, Tokyo, Japan and 1979~80 in National Institutes of Health, Bethesda, USA. He was promoted to Professor of Medicine in 1983.  He was the Dean of National Taiwan University College of Medicine in 2001~07. He retired in 2013 and was appointed Distinguished Chair Professor, NTUCM, and Distinguished Visiting Fellow, Genomics Research Center, Academia Sinica.

Chen was elected Member of Academia Sinica (the National Academy of Taiwan) in 1992, Fellow of the Third World Academy of Sciences in 2001, and Foreign Associate, US National Academy of Sciences in 2005. He was the President of Taiwan Association for the Study of the Liver (1996~98), Gastroenterological Society of Taiwan (1997~2003) and Formosan Medical Association (2001~2004).  He was the President of International Association for the Study of the Liver (IASL) in 2004~2006.

Chen is a board-certified internist and hepatogastroenterologist in Taiwan. He has been Member of the Hepatitis Control Committee of the Taiwanese Government for  30 years since its beginning. He has chaired the Committee for  10 years and has a key role in the National Hepatitis B Mass Immunization Program as well as the previous National Research Program for Genomic Medicine in Taiwan. He has served as the Science and Technology Advisor to the Premier from 1998 to 2014. He has published 750 original articles, 45 chapters and edited 3 books. His H-index in December 2017 was 94.

Q&A with Dr. Ding-Shinn Chen

What are you doing to eliminate viral hepatitis?

I am working actively in local and international activities of controlling viral hepatitis, especially hepatitis B and hepatitis C. I served as an expert in giving opinions to governments in the policy forming to control viral hepatitis.

In your opinion, what is needed to accelerate the elimination of viral hepatitis?

Many things are needed. Among them, the determination of the government is the most important. However, governments are usually slow in action. And thus, pressures from the people are desperately needed. To educate general public on the importance of viral hepatitis is also very important.

What does the elimination of viral hepatitis mean to you?

As a hepatitis expert in Taiwan where hepatitis B and C are common, the elimination of viral hepatitis means a lot to me. It will promote the health of my fellow Taiwanese people. Many people and families will be much less affected by viral hepatitis B and C.

How can medical professionals and patients work together to eliminate viral hepatitis?

I think education is the most important. If both health professionals and patients understand the significance of eliminating viral hepatitis, I would anticipate they will work together to fight against the enemy.

Professor Chris Cunningham

Chris Cunningham is an indigenous New Zealander, a member of the Ngati Raukawa and Ngati Toa tribes.  He is Professor of Māori Health at Massey University and Chair of the Hepatitis Foundation of New Zealand.

Chris has been co-Chair for the World Indigenous People’s Conferences on Viral Hepatitis, hosted in Alice Springs, Australia in 2014, and in Anchorage, Alaska in 2017.

A health researcher, Professor Cunningham and his colleagues have been researching hepatitis B for many years, including the longest study of people living with hepatitis in the world (now over 30 years in duration).

Q&A with Professor Chris Cunningham

What are you doing to eliminate viral hepatitis?

The Hepatitis Foundation runs a surveillance programme for those living with hepatitis B.  This programme is the largest community programme in the world and provides for early intervention and treatment.  We have a number of clinical and public health research projects underway aiming to improve the management of hepatitis B.

In your opinion, what is needed to accelerate the elimination of viral hepatitis?

The major problem is the ‘missing millions’ – in New Zealand we are missing perhaps 100,000 who either do not know their HBV/HCV status or who are diagnosed but not being actively followed.

What does the elimination of viral hepatitis mean to you?

It means that a glaring inequity is removed, and that world class researchers and clinicians can demonstrate some of the stunning successes in modern science and medicine by reaching all of those living with viral hepatitis, starting with those most in need.

How can medical professionals and patients work together to eliminate viral hepatitis?

A true partnership is required to ensure viral hepatitis is managed well when necessary and cured quickly where possible.

Dr Saeed Hamid

Dr Saeed Sadiq Hamid is currently the Ibne Sina Professor and Chairman, Department of Medicine The Aga Khan University, Karachi, Pakistan. He trained in Medicine and Gastroenterology in the UK, and in Hepatology at University of Texas Southwestern Medical School, Dallas, USA. He has been Vice President, Pakistan Society of Gastroenterology and President of the Pakistan Society for the Study of Liver Diseases (PSSLD). He has also been a member of the Guidelines and Publications Committee World Gastroenterology Organization, member of the Executive Council of the Asian Pacific Association for the Study of the Liver (APASL) from 2006-2010 and has chaired the WHO Guidelines Development Group for Hepatitis C in 2015 and again in 2017. His main research interests are viral hepatitis and Liver Failure. He has been an author on over 150 peer reviewed publications and three book chapters. He has mentored a number of postgraduate GI trainees, PhD and other graduate students.

Q&A with Dr Saeed Hamid

What are you doing to eliminate viral hepatitis?

I am currently working on a grant received from Harvard Medical School Center for Global Health Delivery Dubai titled “Extension of Hepatitis C Screening, Diagnosis and Treatment into the Community: A Low Cost, One Window, Test-and-Treat Model for Pakistan.” This entails community screening using rapid tests for HCV in high prevalence peri-urban areas of Karachi, confirming diagnosis using GenExpert for HCV and linking viremic patients to care. So far more than 2000 people have been tested, of whom 280 have been diagnosed and are now being linked to care.

I am also working closely with MSF in Karachi for their HCV treatment program.

In your opinion, what is needed to accelerate the elimination of viral hepatitis?

Our experience so far tells us that linkage to care is the hardest part of the cascade. Patients are simply unwilling to move out of their areas to seek treatment for various reasons. Therefore treatment has to be provided right at their door step to increase uptake. Women patients particularly are reluctant to travel as they frequently depend on their males to take them to treatment center

What does the elimination of viral hepatitis mean to you?

Living and working in a country which has the second highest burden of HCV infection in the world, elimination of VH to me means improving the health of a large number of people in my Pakistan.

How can medical professionals and patients work together to eliminate viral hepatitis?

Successfully treated patients can be the best ambassadors for VH Elimination campaigns, especially those who been treated with relatively advanced liver disease, have felt ill with the infection and restored to full health with treatment. There is a still a stigma associated with a diagnosis of HBV or HCV, and these patient advocates can help to break that stigma.

Dr Rosmawati Mohamed

Professor Dr Rosmawati Mohamed is a Consultant Hepatologist at the University Malaya Medical Centre, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.

Internationally and regionally, she was appointed as Co-chairperson of the WHO Global and Western-Pacific Region Strategic and Technical Advisory Committee for Viral Hepatitis, Executive Council Member of the Asian-Pacific Association for the Study of the Liver, Executive Council Member of the Coalition to Eradicate Viral Hepatitis in Asia Pacific since 2010, Council Member of International Coalition of Hepatology Education Providers since 2013, and committee member of the Chronic Hepatitis B Guideline Working Party of the Asian-Pacific Association for the Study of the Liver.

Locally, she is the Master, Academy of Medicine of Malaysia.

Q&A with Dr Rosmawati Mohamed

In your opinion, what is needed to accelerate the elimination of viral hepatitis?

While the WHO Global Health Sector Strategy (GHSS) provides a leadership blueprint, many countries in the region, including Malaysia, have yet to develop a costed national plan for Hepatitis C. The continuum of  the Hepatitis C cascade from the GHSS – spans an entire range of interventions from preventing infection, linking people to health services, through to providing treatment and chronic care. Hepatitis C testing is a vital part of this continuum that is needed to achieve the strategy’s targets.

A key component still outstanding is the need to search for the “missing thousands” living with Hepatitis C who are UNAWARE that they are infected. Many of the estimated 368,500 people infected with Hepatitis C remain undiagnosed.  No single stakeholder group can achieve this alone. A partnership approach is paramount, where the voices of people with viral hepatitis are included in the development of this initiative– as it is those most affected who will be critical partners in the search for the “missing thousands”.

Hepatitis Free Malaysia is a nationwide hepatitis C awareness campaign, focussing on Hep C testing as part of scaling up screening, in addition to linkage to care and treatment, to achieve the goal of Hepatitis elimination by 2030.  The url is https://hepatitisfreemsia.org.my/

Dr. Khin Pyone Kyi

Dr. Khin Pyone Kyi is currently President of the Board of Directors of the non-profit volunteer organization, Myanmar Liver Foundation (MLF) and retired Director General of the Department of Medical Research, Ministry of Health (MOH), Myanmar. She is also Vice- President of the Myanmar Medical Association and is Chairman of Ni Ni Diagnostics and Health Care Centre. As Secretary Leader of the Support Group for Elderly Doctors (SGED), she is also a strong advocate for aged people. She was a member of the World Health Organization Technical Advisory Group for Immunization in South-East Asia (SEAR-ITAG) (2008-2014), and is currently a Core Member of the National Technical Advisory Group for Immunization (NITAG).

She worked in the government service for 32 years from 1987 to 2010 and pioneered the development of immunodiagnostic reagents for hepatitis by RPHA and ELISA methods. She also spearheaded the development of plasma-derived  and recombinant hepatitis B vaccines in Myanmar, for which she was awarded the Honorary Medal of the State twice. She and her MLF team have traveled all over Myanmar, carrying out vaccination programs, delivering health education talks, screening for hepatitis B and C,  hepatitis B vaccination and counseling. The MLF works in close collaboration with the MOH in vaccination programs and the establishment of the National Hepatitis Control Program .She has been involved in the research on liver diseases and vaccines for over 33 years.

Q&A with Dr. Khin Pyone Kyi

What are you doing to eliminate viral hepatitis?

Myanmar Liver Foundation (MLF), a non-profit volunteer organization has been formed since 2012 with the objective of lowering the morbidity and mortality of liver diseases. Over the past five years, me and my team have traveled all over Myanmar giving health education talks on liver diseases especially viral hepatitis, screening for hepatitis B and C, hepatitis B vaccination and counseling. To date we have vaccinated approximately 500,000 people with 3 doses of hepatitis B vaccines in collaboration with Civil Society Groups and Ministry of Health. MLF has also opened two Charity Clinics, in Yangon and Mandalay with the aim of looking after the chronic hepatitis B and C patients where we offer free testing for hepatitis B, C and hepatitis B markers, ultrasonogram, fibroscan, free hepatitis B vaccination and counseling as needed. Treatment for hepatitis B and C are also given, free for those who are eligible for authorised research projects and cost sharing for those who are ineligible.

What is needed to accelerate the elimination of viral hepatitis?

Now that we have the standard treatment for both hepatitis B and C, there is hope for viral hepatitis elimination. The important thing is we all need to work together. To expose the missing millions we need to screen the general population for hepatitis B and C but priority is for the high risk groups such as health care personnel, institutionalized people, multiple blood transfused patients (with blood diseases), people who inject drugs (PWID), female sex workers, men who have sex with men, renal dialysis patients and staff etc. To care for the whole population, the responsibility should be shared by all and not be a burden to the Ministry of Health in a developing country with limited budget. Each individual, civil societies, NGOs, INGOs, and governments need to work in collaboration for raising awareness to all people, assist in the screening and vaccination steps, up to the treatment regime to eliminate all types of viral hepatitis.

What would the elimination of viral hepatitis means to you?

I am a health care personnel living in a country with a high burden of liver diseases, having to encounter numerous patients with end-stage liver diseases due to complications of viral hepatitis B or C. My background is a microbiologist specializing in hepatitis virology, immunodiagnostics, hepatitis B vaccines and research on different types of viral hepatitis for the past 35 years. Now that most types of viral hepatitis can be prevented by vaccines, personal hygiene and cutting the transmission cycle and if these important messages can be distributed to everyone, the disease burden will come down and so will the complications of these infections. The day of the elimination of viral hepatitis will be the day my dreams come true, and the day of jubilation for my country also.

How can medical professionals and patients work together to eliminate viral hepatitis?

Viral hepatitis is a disease that can be prevented but it will need everyone to come together to fight this deadly infection. With proper and timely vaccination, hepatitis B can be prevented. With DAA drugs treatment hepatitis C can be cured in three months. With good hygiene hepatitis A and E can be prevented and controlled. Vaccines are available to prevent hepatitis A and E also. With awareness raising activities we need everyone to have up-to-date knowledge so that we can all take part to eliminate viral hepatitis. The elimination of viral hepatitis is important for all of us and health care personnel can take the lead in distributing knowledge to the general population. The patients can also help by redistributing the knowledge to other patients, friends, relatives etc. Civil societies, Self-help groups, NGOs, INGOs should all lend their hands in the awareness raising, prevention and treatment activities for the patients.

Shiv Sarin

He is currently the Senior Professor and Head, Department of Hepatology and Director, Institute of Liver and Biliary Sciences. He is also the Director, WHO collaborative center on Viral hepatitis and Liver Diseases at ILBS, New Delhi India.

His research interests include Portal hypertension, Chronic hepatitis B, C, Liver regeneration, Acute-on-chronic Liver Failure and Liver cancer. During his academic career spanning 35 years, Prof. Sarin contributed immensely to the field of Hepatology.

He defined new disease entities, portal biliopathy and acute and chronic liver failure His seminal contributions on liver regeneration using growth factors have the potential for providing non-transplant options to ACLF patients.

He started the APASL School of Hepatology and was instrumental in setting up a Dedicated Liver University, the Institute of Liver and Biliary Sciences (ILBS) in India. ILBS was recently designated as the first WHO Collaborative Center globally in Liver Diseases.

Prof. Sarin has been bestowed with Padma Bhushan (third highest civilian award of the country) by the Govt of India. He is a member of all the three science academies of the country. He has been a recipient of Shanti Swarup Bhatnagar award, the highest Award in Science in India, The World Academy of Medical Sciences International Prize, EASL International Recognition Award and ‘Most Distinguished Physician from India” from the American Association of Physicians of India.

Dr. Jose Sollano

Jose D. Sollano, Jr., is a Professor of Medicine at the University of Santo Tomas Faculty of Medicine and Surgery, Manila, the Philippines.

His major research interests include chronic hepatitis B and C, hepatocellular carcinoma and portal hypertension. He has been faculty and/or convenor of several Asian-Pacific consensus guidelines, including those on chronic hepatitis B, chronic hepatitis C, portal hypertension and non-variceal upper GI bleeding. He is a Member of the Chronic Hepatitis B Global Guidelines Task Force of the World Gastroenterology Organization (WGO) and a Past President of the Asia Pacific Association for the Study of the Liver (APASL), Member of the Expert Working Group on Surveillance, Prevention and Management of Viral Hepatitis in the Western Pacific region in 2014, Member of the. Steering Committee of the World Digestive Health Day (WDHD 2018) Focus on the Viral Hepatitis, B and C: Lift the Global Burden, which has been convened with the World Gastroenterology Organization (WGO) since 2007.

Q&A with Dr. Jose Sollano

What are you doing to eliminate viral hepatitis?                                                                                                                                                                                       

Heading/participating in advocacy groups which engage both private and public entities who are in the forefront of viral hepatitis education, awareness, screening and vaccination

In your opinion, what is needed to accelerate the elimination of viral hepatitis? 

Mothers who are enlightened and educated on issues with hepatitis prevention (and treatment), a successful and well-performed newborn vaccination program, catch-up vaccination, screening, and treatment of appropriate HBV/HCV infected individuals

What does the elimination of viral hepatitis mean to you?                                                   

Hepatitis elimination ensures for healthier, productive and happier families who are are able to fulfill their dreams and aspirations with a well-placed confidence of being able to grow old together

How can medical professionals and patients work together to eliminate viral hepatitis?   

Advocacy, patient support programs, as well as, active engagement with policymakers and government regarding hepatitis elimination programs and campaigns

Other medical visionaries in Asia Pacific Region

  • علي الدوة, Yemen
  • Professor dr sadik memon, Pakistan
  • Shasthry SM, India
  • Zaigham Abbas, Pakistan
  • Dr Ghulam Abbas Sheikh, Pakistan
  • Saadi Adem, Saudi Arabia
  • Dr Saleh Ahmed, Bangladesh
  • Irfan Ahmed Khan, Pakistan
  • Ajaz Akhtar, Pakistan
  • Abdullah Al Mahmood, Bangladesh
  • Ali Aldowah, Yemen
  • Prof. Mohammad Ali, Bangladesh
  • Sheikh Al-shoteri, Yemen
  • Arshad Altaf, Pakistan
  • Marilyn O. Arguillas, Philippines
  • Shreyasi Athalye, India
  • M. Azzam Kayasseh, United Arab Emirates
  • Ia Bagashvili, Georgia
  • Yasemin Balaban, Turkey
  • Asad Choudhry, Pakistan
  • Dr. Shahjalal Chowdhury, Bangladesh
  • Dr Debnandan Chowdhury, India
  • Elsa Chu, Australia
  • Benjamin Cowie, Australia
  • Dr. E. M. B. Daniel, Sri Lanka
  • Naranjargal Dashdorj, Mongolia
  • Talal Dawoud, Saudi Arabia
  • Shorena Dvali, Georgia
  • Dhevahi Elumalei, India
  • Dr. Zia-ur-Rehman Farooqi, Pakistan
  • Nana Gongadze, Georgia
  • Rabab Hanaei Hosseini, Kuwait
  • Mohammad Izazul Hoque, Bangladesh
  • Dr Abdul Jabbar, India
  • Ganbolor Jargalsaikhan, Mongolia
  • Khan Kalimullah, Pakistan
  • Dr Vitthal Kandekar, India
  • Anoop Kaur, Australia
  • Dr Paul Kelly, Australia
  • Maonuchehr Khoshbaten, Iran
  • Nini Kotrikadze, Georgia
  • Rimma Kramskay, Israel
  • Dr Manoj Kumar, India
  • BK Law, Malaysia
  • Nancy Leung, Hong Kong
  • Herryanto Lumbantobing, Indonesia
  • Dr Sarah Martin, Australia
  • A Mi Mi Kyaw, Myanmar
  • Professor Michael Levy, Australia
  • Vandana Midha, India
  • Marjan Mokhtare, Iran
  • David H. Muljono, Indonesia
  • Chris Munoz, Philippines
  • Ghulam Musaddaq, Pakistan
  • Mohamad Najdalizade, Iran
  • Ammara Naveed, Pakistan
  • James O'Beirne, Australia
  • Abazar Parsi, Iran
  • Dr Andrew Pengilley, Australia
  • Capucine Penicaud, Australia
  • Sunil Prasad Lekhak, Nepal
  • Dr Narayanan Rajagopalan, India
  • Dr R.P.Shanmugam, India
  • PATRICK SABURIT, Philippines
  • Muhammad Sadik Memon, Pakistan
  • Dr. Tayyab Saeed Akhter, Pakistan
  • Nouth Sambath, Cambodia
  • Tayyab Shafique, Pakistan
  • Abrar Shaikh, Pakistan
  • Hafsa Siddiqi, Pakistan
  • Sanjay Singh Kaintura, India
  • Dr K S Soma Sekhar Rao, India
  • Pheav Soren, Cambodia
  • Simone Strasser, Australia
  • Indrajit Suresh, India
  • Sunil Taneja, India
  • Dr M Khalil Ur-Rehman, Pakistan
  • Aradya H V, India
  • Dr. PB Vivekanandan, India
  • Prof MA Weinmin William MA, China
  • Cesar Yaghi, Lebanon
  • Dr Yadira Yaqoob, Pakistan

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