Maintaining HCV Micro elimination through tines of Crisis : Ukrainian Refugees and People seeking international protection

Author: Margaret Bourke, Gail Hawthorne, Aiden McCormick, Margaret Bourke, Eamon Keenan

Theme: Models of Care Year: 2023

As part of Hepatitis C Virus (HCV) treatment programme 197 patients were treated for Hepatitis C in our Opiate Substitution treatment (OST) centres in CHO 6&7 with a view to micro-elimination within our client group
Sustained Virological response (SVR) 99%
Despite Ireland had one of the longest Covid lockdowns in Europe with two major lockdowns, Testing and treatment all new entrants for HCV was prioritised to maintain micro-elimination.
We continued this policy for service users entering treatment as Refugees of people seeking international protection
HCV Treatment was provided by an addiction General Practitioner, Nurse Specialist and pharmacist

Treating Refugees and People seeking international protection
The war in Ukraine saw an influx of Ukrainian Refugees 47,692 entering Ireland
Over the same period the number Georgians seeking international protection increased to 1,792

20 patients presented to our OST service – 11 HCV RNA positive
Virological screening:
4 co-infected (HIV /HCV) referred to Infectious-disease services
2 of whom treated for HCV
3 HCV RNA positive 1 completing treatment
1 retreat – due to commence treatment
1 completing work up for treatment previously treated, continued SVR
2 defaulted from OST

Transient accommodation, language barriers, correlating required documentation and reluctance to disclose information proved challenging

Despite the many Challenges it is possible treat HCV in patients arriving to our services with a view to maintain micro elimination in this population.

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