Welcome to your round-up of everything happening in the NOhep world! If you want to receive future editions of NOhep news, sign up to our movement here.
From flash mobs to prison treatment programmes, the global NOhep community has been busy advocating for elimination and taking the practical steps needed to help bring a NOhep world closer to reality. You can read about these exciting activities below.
Our Supporter Spotlight this month is Christophe Bösiger from the Swiss Hepatitis C Association (SHCA). Christophe joined SHCA to fight injustice and inequality of treatment access after he was denied treatment for hepatitis C. Read on to find out how his personal experiences led to a lasting dedication to patient advocacy.
We’ve also got great elimination news from Latin America and a story about an innovative invention that aims to stop the spread of viral hepatitis and other communicable diseases in Pakistan.
Supporter Spotlight: Christophe Bösiger
Christophe Bösiger was diagnosed with hepatitis C in 2014. Despite the recent introduction of effective direct-acting antivirals, he was told he was not eligible for the cure under the Swiss medical system because his liver was not yet damaged enough.
This experience motivated Christophe to join the Swiss Hepatitis C Association (SHCA) to fight for treatment rights. Today, he is vice-president and secretary of SHCA and is still fighting to ensure that all hepatitis C patients in Switzerland get the help they need.
NOhep Community Activity
United States of America
NOhep supporters and Medical Visionaries who were attending the American Association for the Study of Liver Diseases’ (AASLD) The Liver Meeting® made their voices heard by staging a flash mob at a nearby shopping mall in Boston, USA. They created eye-catching placards and signs and clapped, sang, and stamped their feet to make sure members of the public heard the message about hepatitis elimination. What a creative way to raise awareness of NOhep!
Watch a video of the action below!
NOhep supporters Yayasan Koalisi Satu Hati recently tested more than 17,000 people in prison in the Indonesian capital, Jakarta.
Now, direct-acting antivirals (DAAs) have arrived at Pengayoman Hospital so they can start hepatitis C treatments for people in prison. A great step towards a NOhep world!
NOhep supporters in Australia are offering “friendly care in a familiar environment” by launching a pilot community hepatitis C screening and treatment programme in a local pharmacy. They’ve already screened 16 people and prescribed one course of treatment!
This is a great example of how collaboration between health authorities, local health providers and civil society can deliver results that work for patients.
Articles and stories
MERCOSUR member states commit to hepatitis elimination
Health ministers from MERCOSUR, a South American common market trading bloc, have signed a joint declaration on the elimination of viral hepatitis, committing to provide the necessary technical assistance to achieve elimination in South America.
The declaration, which was signed by health ministers from MERCOSUR’s full members (Argentina, Brazil, Paraguay and Uruguay), highlights the inter-country exchange of key successes, the adequate financing of the response to viral hepatitis through Universal Health Coverage (UHC) and a focus on key vulnerable groups.
With an estimated 2.1 million people across Latin America and the Caribbean living with hepatitis B and 4.1 million with hepatitis C, this joint commitment to elimination is welcome news. See the declaration here.
Pakistan government to introduce auto-disable syringes in 2020
Pakistan’s federal government has announced plans to introduce auto-disable (AD) syringes across the country from next year to stem the spread of viral hepatitis, HIV and other infectious diseases through the re-use of needles. Labelled auto-destruct needles, AD syringes automatically lock after one use meaning they cannot be repeatedly used.
“By the end of the first quarter of next year, we hope to eliminate disposable syringes in private sector hospitals and replace them with auto-lock syringes,” said Dr Zafar Mirza, Special Assistant to the Prime Minister on Health.
This came as Dr Mirza also warned of unnecessary injections in Pakistan, stressing the need for the country to cut down the practice when possible. “Pakistan is among the leading countries where a person gets eight to nine injections on average per year,” he said. Read more here.