ILBS & FIND kick off capacity-building activities to implement HEAD-Start project in India

  • The Unitaid-supported Hepatitis C Elimination through Access to Diagnostics (HEAD-Start) project is designed to enhance availability and accessibility of hepatitis C tests

New Delhi, India 14 December 2018 – The Institute of Liver & Biliary Sciences (ILBS) and Foundation for Innovative New Diagnostics (FIND) today jointly convened an orientation workshop for the HEAD-start (Hepatitis C Elimination through Access to Diagnostics) project. With support and guidance from the Directorate General of Health Services (DGHS) of the Government of the National Capital Territory (NCT) of Delhi, ILBS and FIND are preparing to implement the Unitaid-funded HEAD-Start project in the National Capital Region of Delhi.

The HEAD-Start 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.

The workshop supports capacity building of nodal officers and project staff for HCV diagnosis and treatment. Dr Shiv Kumar Sarin, ILBS Director, inaugurated the workshop and welcomed the participants. He 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.

Under the project, a series of coordinated interventions will be undertaken to enhance increased availability of, and accessibility to, hepatitis C testing. The project will contribute to the development of a well-functioning network providing decentralized 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.

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. The HEAD-Start project in Delhi aims to enhance hepatitis C diagnosis and treatment pathways in both the general and high-risk populations. This includes patients with clinical findings, people who inject drugs, individuals with HIV co-infection, patients on dialysis and patients who have undergone blood transfusions.

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, which will inform policymakers at both the state and central levels.”

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

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About the Institute of Liver & Biliary Sciences (ILBS)
ILBS is an autonomous super specialty NABH and NABL accredited institute under the aegis of the GNTCD, with a commitment towards delivering quality healthcare for all liver-related diseases. In addition to providing state of the art treatment, they also run a liver helpline manned by doctors for patients and families having questions related to their diseases. As a deemed university, the Institute provides accredited fellowships in adult and paediatric hepatology, liver transplant surgery, transplant anaesthesia, Ph.D. courses in basic sciences and other certificate courses, including an accredited National Deceased Organ Donation Certificate Course for Transplant Coordinators. For more information, please visit

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 delivery of 21 new diagnostic tools used in 150 LMICs. Over 38 million FIND-supported products have been provided to our target markets 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. For more information, please visit

Media contacts
ILBS: Dr Shantanu Dubey, Assistant Head Operations
T: +91 (0) 46300000, 23025

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