Kuala Lumpur, 28 July 2018 – On World Hepatitis Day 2018, the Galen Centre for Health and Social Policy calls for adoption of innovative and non-discriminatory public health service delivery models to address gaps in diagnosis and treatment of Hepatitis C virus (HCV) infection amongst at-risk population groups.
“Certain populations, such as people who use and inject drugs, sex workers and men who have sex with men are more vulnerable to HCV. These populations face higher incidences of HCV transmission but also encounter significant stigma, criminalization and difficulties accessing healthcare services,” said Azrul Mohd Khalib, Chief Executive of the Galen Centre for Health and Social Policy.
“Developing sustainable outreach models to bring HCV awareness, screening services and treatment into marginalised communities must be prioritised to ensure the success of the existing national HCV programme. In this spirit, the Ministry of Health should ensure that communal consultation and sensitisation protocols are integrated into the existing the national HCV strategy which ensures non-judgemental medical practices and community engagement. This would ensure that discrimination does not become a barrier in seeking treatment.”
Only one in 10 Malaysians who carry the Hepatitis C virus has been diagnosed and know their status. It has been estimated that more than 450,000 people in the population are currently living with the disease.
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