Working together for a better hepatitis policy in Europe and beyond
Report from first European Conference on Hepatitis C and Injecting Drug Use held in Berlin, a conference full of people committed to improve access to Hepatitis C Virus (HCV) Treatment and Opiate Substitution Treatment (OST).7 Nov 2014
Dr Chris Ford, International Doctors for Healthier Drug Policies
The first European Conference on Hepatitis C and Injecting Drug Use held in Berlin at the end of October was packed full of people committed to improve access to Hepatitis C Virus (HCV) Treatment and Opiate Substitution Treatment (OST). It was clear to see that delegates felt passionately about these two important issues. Concrete steps were made for strong advocacy and strategic collaboration.
Things started with an excellent overview by Dr Jorg Goiz Berlin and was followed by three good national examples of hepatitis policies; one each from Scotland, France and Germany. Seven stakeholders for the seven key messages for a better hepatitis C policy and practice:
- Scale Up Harm Reduction Community Based Programmes.
- Access to HCV Testing, Treatment and Care Services
- Access to Affordable HCV Treatments
- Decriminalisation of People Who Use Drugs
- Meaningful Involvement of High Risk Communities
- Improved HCV and Health Literacy
- Effective Targeted HCV Strategies and Action Plans
The second day started with a topic close to all our hearts: “Access to hepatitis C treatment in Europe and abroad – the politics of pricing”. The session included Luis Mendao followed by Cloe Forette of Medicine du Monde on “Nobody left behind” giving a global overview of hepatitis C treatment access and people who use drugs. Paata Sabelashi of the Georgian Harm Reduction Network was awe-inspiring and made me feel truly humbled by what people do putting themselves at risk to demand better services. Dr Ruicardo Bapista Leite, MP Portugal, rounded off this session and he renewed my faith in politicians a little. Know more about the consensus on HCV in Portugal here.
All the presentations are available on the website.