Simplified approach to hepatitis C testing, treatment shows promise in seven countries
A new article published in BMJ Global Health details results of five years of CHAI support to governments as they initiate and scale up hepatitis C programs across seven low- and middle-income countries.
Hepatitis C affects approximately 71 million people globally [Polaris Observatory, Lancet Gastroenterol Hepatol 2017] and is curable. However, left untreated, the virus can lead to advanced liver disease, liver cancer, and death.
Starting in 2015, CHAI has been working with governments in Cambodia, India, Indonesia, Myanmar, Nigeria, Rwanda, and Vietnam to support the scale up of hepatitis C programs. These programs include screening with a rapid diagnostic test to identify hepatitis C antibodies, confirmatory viral load testing for chronic hepatitis C infection, and treatment with direct-acting antivirals, well-tolerated once daily drugs that cure more than 90 percent of patients after three to six months of treatment.
High prices used to be a barrier for countries to access diagnostics and treatment, but a number of factors, including pricing negotiations led by CHAI, have resulted in dramatic price reductions in many settings. In turn, countries have been able to expand their programs and cure thousands of patients from hepatitis C.
The Rwandan government has committed to achieving hepatitis C elimination by 2021 and other countries are moving towards micro-elimination in specific geographic areas or populations. With strong political will, decentralized programs, domestic and donor financing, and global advocacy, hepatitis C elimination globally is achievable by 2030.Read the article