RURAL, REMOTE, & NORTHERN COMMUNITIES
How can we eliminate viral hepatitis in small, isolated communities such as in rural parts of BC’s Interior, Kootenays, or the North?
There is a lack of doctors, there are few if any specialists, and frankly it’s really hard to get confidential hepatitis testing or treatment when the Community Health Representative at your tiny health unit is your sister-in-law, right? We’re happy to say help is on the way:
- With the new DAA treatments for hepatitis C, there are no needles, treatment only takes a few week, there are few if any side effects, and in almost all cases, the treatment works! Because treatment is so much easier and more effective, doctors are more likely to test everyone, and more willing to prescribe DAAs to every HCV+ person in their care.
- Because the DAA treatments are now covered by BC Pharmacare for almost everyone, patients in even remote areas are now starting to realize they are entitled to, and should demand, treatment.
- For these same reasons, Nurse Practitioners were recently given permission by Pharmacare to sign the “Special Authority” applications Pharmacare uses to grant prescriptions.
- Soon “Dried Blood Spot” testing will be available in our isolated and far-flung small communities. People will be able to test themselves privately, and send out their dried blood spots for confidential testing via mail, making initial testing and post-treatment monitoring far more confidential.
- Finally, for those who do need extra care or monitoring (such as those with cirrhosis and/or other morbidities, the elderly, children, etc.) doctors have available the option of connecting to specialists via Tele-Medicine or Tele-Health, available widely – even on most remote reserves, which means far fewer healthcare-related trips out of the area.
FOR MORE INFORMATION:
- Find the community nearest to you where you can find peer support from a caring and knowledgeable people – in person, by phone, or email. See our list with contact information at http://hepcbc.ca/support/support-groups/ .
- Download and read the pamphlet HERE especially for those in rural, remote, and northern communities.
- Phone HepCBC’s Tollfree line 1-844-268-2118 if you want to discuss your needs further with HepCBC peer volunteers.