Millennium Post

Campaign to eliminate Hepatitis C and enhance testing procedure

New Delhi: A campaign, aims to eliminate the Hepatitis C and enhance its diagnosis and treatment pathways in both the general and high- rise population, has been launched under the project HEAD-start (Hepatitis C Elimination through Access to Diagnostics) under the support of Institute of Liver and Biliary Sciences (ILBS) and NGO- Foundation for Innovative New Diagnostics (FIND).

The project HEAD- start will specifically monitor the patients with clinical findings, people who inject drugs, individuals with HIV co-infection, patients on dialysis and patients who have undergone blood transfusions.

Under the project, a series of coordinated interventions will be undertaken to enhance the increased availability of, and accessibility to hepatitis C testing.

The project will contribute to the development of a well-functioning network providing decentralised diagnosis for hepatitis C, with effective linkage to treatment centres in Delhi. ILBS and FIND will explore innovative testing strategies, both in the general population and for vulnerable groups.

Dr Shiv Kumar Sarin, ILBS Director, highlighted the importance of hepatitis C elimination and commented that through the ILBS-FIND HEAD-Start project, India has now an unprecedented opportunity to detect the missing people infected with HCV.

Delhi, with a population of about 18 million people, is estimated to have a high burden of hepatitis C infected individuals. In order to address this significant disease burden, diagnosis of hepatitis C followed by treatment with direct-acting antivirals (DAA) is critical. "This initiative is meant to empower them and eliminate hepatitis virus from the National Capital," he added.

"The project is supported and guidance from the Directorate General of Health Services (DGHS) of the Government of the National Capital Territory (NCT) of Delhi," said the statement.

The project to enhance availability and accessibility of hepatitis C testing will be executed in a phased manner across five hospitals identified by the DGHS: Pt. Madan Mohan Malviya Hospital, Maharshi Valmiki Hospital, Sanjay Gandhi Memorial Hospital, Deen Dayal Upadhyay Hospital, and Guru Teg Bahadur Hospital.

"A physician and a microbiologist from each hospital have been nominated as nodal officers for the project," said an official.

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