FIND India, Manipur State AIDS Control Society, YRG Care and public health experts call for multi-sectoral action to raise awareness on early diagnosis of hepatitis C

  • FIND India hosted a media sensitization workshop on key aspects of hepatitis C (HCV) diagnosis

New Delhi, India – 15 June 2019 – The Foundation for Innovative New Diagnostics (FIND) conducted a media sensitization workshop today, as a part of the Unitaid-funded HEAD-Start (Hepatitis C Elimination through Access to Diagnostics) project with the aim to raise awareness among journalists around hepatitis C (HCV) in the State. The objective was to trigger meaningful interactions to address HCV and increase uptake of HCV diagnosis and care between community leaders, development partners who are advocating extensively with the community in India, and media representatives.

This is the second workshop which is conducted by FIND in India for capacity building of journalists around HCV issues, and to promote quality reporting in the country media. In line with the workshop objectives, FIND India invited key stakeholders and experts to share their knowledge and experiences on the subject and to engage in an open discussion with the journalists, with the aim that such an awareness-building and sensitization exercise will pave way for more effective, accurate and humane reporting on HCV. This will also be an opportunity to learn the media’s perspectives while reporting on hepatitis C and related issues.

The workshop took place in the  presence of various stakeholders from the field; Dr. Abhiram Mongjam, Joint Director (Targeted Interventions), Manipur State AIDS Control Society (MSACS), Mr. E.R. Babu, CPM (HCV), FIND, Dr. Navneet Tewatia, Advocacy Officer (HCV), FIND, Mr. A.K. Srikrishnan, (Design) YRG Care and community representatives; Mr. Deepak, President – MNP+, Mr. Joe Secretary – Care and Mr. R.K. Tiken from SASO.

FIND India in partnership with YRG Care and the Government of Manipur are implementing Project HEAD-Start. As part of the project, FIND works to improve HCV diagnosis by making it more affordable and widely available to those in need, with a focus on vulnerable populations. The HEAD-Start project is designed to inform global implementation guidelines and national policies that are conducive to scaling up HCV management in support of the WHO elimination targets for 2030.

Stressing on the need for a behavioral change, Dr. Abhiram Mongjam, said, “Through integrated care clinics, the HCV project was made a reality in Manipur with four NGOs implementing it at the grass-root level. After signing the MOU with the Government of Manipur, MSACS, YRG CARE and FIND India launched the program on 31 December 2018 and people were able to access the treatment. Hon’ble health minister, Shri. L Jayenta Kumar was present for the launch. Under this programme, more than 3000 have been screened and more than 700 people have been treated with close to 200 people completing the treatment.”

Dr. Sanjay Sarin, Head of FIND India said, “this project will generate evidence for the implementation of effective diagnostic tools, and provide an operational service delivery model for the design of an integrated diagnostics and treatment blueprint in populations at risk, which will inform policymakers at both the state and central levels.”

Speaking on the occasion, Mr. A.K. Srikrishnan said, “The HEAD-start project is very important and timely. We are grateful to the government of Manipur for all the support provided and mentoring the key populations. It is important that people are aware of the availability of HCV diagnosis & treatment and come forward to access it. This has been made possible due to combined efforts of the Government of Manipur, FIND India and MSACS.”

The media representatives in the room left with a strong understanding of the situation of HCV in India. It is envisaged that long-term media partnerships can be built for better reportage, networking, promotion and awareness generation around diagnosis and treatment facilities available in both public and private healthcare centres.

The FIND Hepatitis C Elimination through Access to Diagnostics (HEAD-Start) project is funded by Unitaid. It builds on earlier work supported by the government of the Netherlands, and UK aid from the British people.

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About FIND
FIND is a global non-profit organization that drives innovation in the development and delivery of diagnostics to combat major diseases affecting the world’s poorest populations. Our work bridges R&D to access, overcoming scientific barriers to technology development; generating evidence for regulators and policy-makers; addressing market failures; and enabling accelerated uptake and access to diagnostics in low- and middle-income countries (LMICs). Since 2003, we have been instrumental in the development of 24 new diagnostic tools. Over 50 million FIND-supported products have been provided to 150 LMICs since the start of 2015. A WHO Collaborating Centre, we work with more than 200 academic, industry, governmental, and civil society partners worldwide, on over 70 active projects that cross six priority disease areas. FIND is committed to a future in which diagnostics underpin treatment decisions and provide the foundation for disease surveillance, control, and prevention.

Media contact
Navneet Tewatia, Advocacy Officer, FIND India
T: +91 (0) 11-40479550
M: +91 (0) 70119-94721