Cambodia’s First Free Hepatitis C Treatment
Known as “the silent killer”, many Cambodians are unaware that they have hepititis C. The infection is slow-moving, and symptoms may be delayed for years, meaning it can go unnoticed until serious liver damage has already been caused. Untreated, it can lead to liver cancer, cirrhosis (scarring of the liver) and death. Although the exact prevalence of the disease is unknown, it is estimated that between 2% and 5% of the population is infected.
There is no national program to target the disease in Cambodia. MSF launched a hepatitis C clinic in May 2016, offering the first free treatment for the blood-borne virus in the country.
Working alongside the Cambodian health ministry, the project aims to provide the most effective drugs alongside rapid-test diagnostics, and to create a simplified and cost-effective model of care, paving the way for a national hepatitis C guideline and program. MSF opened a second site in the town of Battambang in March 2018.