In April, the Pacific Hepatitis C Network (PHCN) released “Hep C Resources in BC: what we have – what’s missing – and next steps”. The report outlines the results of their needs assessment, which focused on information and advocacy needs surrounding hepatitis C in the province of BC. This needs assessment was completed as work through the Hepatitis C Caucus under the PHSA’s Collective Impact Network.
One big finding of the needs assessment was assessing info and advocacy needs surrounding treatment for hepatitis C. Respondents felt that they wanted to know more about treatment pathways, options for treatment, and how to access treatment or help others to access treatment.
The importance of peers and peer supports was also highlighted in this report. Respondents with lived experience felt that connecting with people with lived hepatitis C experience was important for their journey, or something they wished they had. It is clear that for many living with hepatitis C having the support of others who have walked the same path was both a useful way to get information about hepatitis C and provided connection and support. One specific peer support mentioned was PHCN’s Help4Hep BC peer support telephone line.
This also overlaps with discussion of stigma within the report — peer supports helped reduce the sense of isolation that can sometimes coincide with stigma surrounding hepatitis C. The report touches on stigma as it relates to medical settings (experiences of stigma in the doctor’s office, etc.) as well as within the hepatitis C community (stigmatization of people who use drugs as opposed to people who contracted hepatitis C through tainted blood products). Suggested next steps include building a peer network of people with lived hepatitis C experience throughout the province, as well as focusing on building connections between primary care physicians and people with lived experience.
Given the end of fibrosis staging in BC and the expansion of treatment options for hepatitis C, this needs assessment is timely and will help to shape next steps moving forward. Please visit the PHCN website to read both the summary and full report version of the Hepatitis C in BC Resources needs assessment.
PHSA’s Collective Impact Network
Questions? Feedback? Get in touch!
Janice Duddy, Director of Evaluation and Community-Based Research [email protected]