Development of a National Hepatitis C Action Plan

New Zealand was one of 194 countries that adopted the World Health Organization’s Global Hepatitis Strategy in May 2016, which included a goal of eliminating viral hepatitis as a major public health threat by 2030.

The Ministry has begun work on the development of a draft National Hepatitis C Action Plan that is part of our work plan for 2018/19. Producing a national plan will help us work towards the World Health Organization’s viral hepatitis elimination goal.

Regular updates will be provided on the Ministry's website, which will include how cross-sector input will be sought to help develop the plan.

March 2019 update

A cross-sector working group has been formed to undertake the collaborative development of a draft National Hepatitis C Action Plan. The first workshop took place at end of February facilitated by Professor Ed Gane, Deputy Director of the Liver Transplant Unit at Auckland DHB and Dr Caroline McElnay, Director of Public Health at the Ministry. Participants identified key areas of the action plan that need further investigation over the coming weeks. A cross-agency governance group is also supporting this work and involves representatives from PHARMAC, the Department of Corrections and the Ministry.

January 2019 update

Nominations have been invited from a range of organisations to form a cross-sector working group to help develop a National Hepatitis C Action Plan. The working group will be chaired by Professor Ed Gane and made up of representatives from district health boards, primary health organisations, government agencies, labs, public health, needle exchange services, community alcohol and drug services, addiction services, consumer representatives, the hepatitis C workforce (including hospital specialists, general practitioners and nurses) the Maori and Pacific workforce and other national organisations.

Updates on international work

For a copy of the global hepatitis health strategy refer to Global health sector strategy on viral hepatitis, 2016–2021.

For more details about international work underway refer to Hepatitis C on the World Health Organization website.

Other cross-government work

The Ministry has been working in partnership with PHARMAC to support implementation of the new funded hepatitis C treatments. Joint work is also taking place with the Department of Corrections and Work and Income New Zealand.

The Department of Corrections is continuing to engage with the Ministry and PHARMAC to develop strategies to address hepatitis C in prisons. Currently all prisoners are offered screening for hepatitis C. Those who test positive and meet the eligibility criteria are offered treatment with the fully funded treatment programme.

The Ministry has also been working with Work & Income New Zealand to set up ways of providing support to people seeking hepatitis C treatment in the community (from their GP) for those who would qualify for a community service card (low income and beneficiaries) and may be eligible for a Special Needs Grant to cover costs.

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