In conjunction with World Hepatitis Day this year, HCSA Community Services, Gilead Sciences and Tan Tock Seng Hospital (TTSH) are launching the Educate, Test, Treat! (ETT) and End-C Programmes to provide Hepatitis-C (HCV) testing, education, and treatment in Singapore. These are the first-ever local initiatives established with a focus on high-risk patient groups to eliminate the transmission of HCV.
Without medical intervention, HCV can progress to lifelong chronic liver conditions. In fact, liver cancer ranks as the second most cancer-causing mortality in Singapore. Despite high rates of liver cancer and liver failure across the nation, a study conducted by Gilead Sciences revealed the general apathy of Singaporeans towards liver health – less than half (42%) recognise that viral hepatitis can cause liver failure. If left unaddressed, this could hinder public efforts to control the spread of HCV locally.
The ETT Programme, initiated by HCSA Community Services and funded by Gilead Sciences, and End-C Programme, a collaboration between HCSA Community Services and TTSH, will be Singapore’s first local initiatives to provide HCV testing, education and treatment for high-risk groups residing in HCSA’s Highpoint Halfway House. These include former drug offenders, ex-offenders, newly released prisoners, and those in recovery from addiction. The ETT and End-C Programmes will be conducted over a period of nine months.
A positive result will then allow the person to seek confirmatory tests and receive earlier intervention. Confirmed active HCV participants of the ETT programme will also be given oral medication for treatment.
As part of the combined programme, patients will also be given educational materials and telephone consultations by the Tan Tock Seng Hospital Gastroenterology and Hepatology Department, to assist them in their treatment journey. This is complemented by HCSA’s FriEnd-C Befriender Programmean integrated, support system to guide patients that are HCV positive and ensure that they do not fall out of the programme and complete the treatment journey.
To sustain and drive further education among target patient groups, HCSA will also be conducting educational campaigns through a range of initiatives, including talks at HCSA Highpoint Halfway House and other halfway houses in Singapore.
Check out their HCV Educational Brochure for more details!
Images: HSCA and Envato