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World Hepatitis Day… How reach52 is combating Hepatitis B in South East Asia

In late 2019, reach52 partnered with Gilead Sciences and the Philippines Department of Health to launch comprehensive hepatitis B (HBV) services for rural populations in the Philippines. We passionately support the global drive to find the ‘missing millions’… the 290 million undiagnosed people living with viral hepatitis… and provide them the treatment they need. This World Hepatitis Day, we wanted to update on the action we are taking in the Philippines to make this happen.

HBV represents a major health burden for the Philippines, which has among the highest prevalence in the world.  However, due to persistent barriers only a fraction of cases are diagnosed, and even fewer access the essential life-saving treatments they need. By harnessing reach52’s health system services, our programme is focused on addressing the enormous challenges in delivering care to the estimated 1 in 10 Filipinos living with hepatitis B virus.

This end-to-end solution consists of health worker upskilling, community awareness (including overcoming HBV stigma), screening, diagnostics, and enhanced pathways to care for positive cases. We started with a knowledge assessment of local health workers to get a better understanding of how they manage post-test counselling, diagnosis, and referrals. As there were many gaps and issues identified, we developed an education and training program with leading hepatologists and the Hepatology Society of the Philippines. Once we had strengthened the local health system, we implemented the awareness and screening/diagnostics programmes in these rural regions, as well as enabling access to the affordable medicines.

All the services are powered by reach52’s award-winning digital health platform and community-based teams in these rural areas. The programme blended public sector (who conducted the screenings and patient counselling), reach52 services (for training, screening events, patient education, and access to diagnostics and treatments) and the private sector (providing specialist hepatitis expertise, funding and treatments).

“The complexity of delivering screening-to-treatment programmes has been enormous, but it is truly humbling to see our innovative public-private partnership approach and service delivery model come to life and deliver a comprehensive, affordable solution to patients that need support most,” said Edward Booty, CEO of reach52.

The Government of Philippines, through the Department of Health (DOH), has been an engaged and enthusiastic partner on this project.  In addition to their central role during the planning phase, the DOH is providing significant investments, including staffing, in-kind, and financial resources.  This includes 10 doctors, 8 med-techs, and the participation of 52 front-line health care workers.

The initial phase of the programme will impact an estimated 11,000 individuals in Cuartero and Pototan municipalities, including community-based screening services for up to 10,000 low-income residents. Health system strengthening will be promoted through the training of 166 community health workers via reach52’s mediconnect platform. As part of this initiative, low-cost anti-viral medicines will be made available to patients via reach52 marketplace and delivered directly into rural regions.

reach52 is partnering with many leading organisations (Insurance, Pharma, MedTech and Consumer Health) to expand access and grow their portfolio into previously unreachable rural markets across South and South East Asia. We’re also a proud member of the World Hepatitis Alliance,

If you’re interested in making an impact with us, we’d love to hear from you.

 

Contact details:

Edward Booty, CEO (edward@reach52.com)

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