GIVING PATIENTS A VOICE; LOBBYING FOR HEPATITIS C TREATMENT
For decades, Egypt suffered from the highest prevalence of Hepatitis C worldwide. We supported a patient lobbying campaign helping millions of patients access globally-approved therapies.
A spectrum of treatments was used to help hepatitis C patients in Egypt; from the use of PEGylated interferon to the recent use of direct acting antiviral drugs. However cost was a key barrier to access. In 2009, the pressure of rising costs prompted the introduction of local treatment alternatives with unknown efficacy profiles.
Bringing together patient groups, we launched an advocacy campaign supporting their right to effective and proven treatments. We engaged with decision makers via the media by giving patients a voice and bringing to light their emotional and moving personal accounts of seeking treatment. The four-phased campaign spanned initiating the debate; driving a fact-based narrative; focusing on grassroots advocacy and engaging stakeholders to promote expert opinion.
A national public debate commenced and concern and was raised by members of parliament. As the story was picked up by biggest talk shows and media outlets in the country, public pressure intensified and the Ministry of Health initiated an investigation ultimately ruling to re-establish approved treatment protocols. The campaign helped save and improve the lives of millions of hepatitis C patients.