May, 2020 Hepatitis B Free Update

HBF with clinic nurses in the Kingdom of Tonga

By David Hilmers – Chief Medical Officer

To all of our supporters:

The COVID-19 pandemic has profoundly affected each of our lives, whether we have suffered from infection or not.  Many of us have a friend or family member who has been ill from the virus, and we have all experienced the social and economic challenges that have changed our world.

Hepatitis B Free has likewise been affected.  Some of our team have been directly involved with COVID-19 patient care in Australia and in the USA.  Our ability to visit our projects has been entirely curtailed by travel bans on international travel by our home countries and by the countries in which we work.  In North Korea shipments of essential supplies such as medications and lab equipment have been halted because of quarantines on imports.

Despite these limitations, we continue to press ahead.   We are holding regular teleconferences to train and discuss cases with our colleagues in other countries.  We are pressing ahead with donations of hepatitis medications to ensure that there is no disruption in the distribution of life-saving drugs to our patients.  Where needed, we have arranged for transfesr of medications from one country to another if supplies run low.

We are pleased that a paper describing our program in Kiribati has been accepted for publication.  We will post a copy on our website once it is in print.  We have submitted another paper, currently under review, which describes the prevalence of chronic hepatitis B in Oro Province, Papua New Guinea, where we have a project.

We are laying the foundaton to start our trial of tenofovir to prevent maternal to child transmission in pregnant women in Kiribati.  Once we are able to travel again to Kiribati, we hope to have this important study underway.

We are indebted to you for your support, especially during these difficult time.  Please know that we endeavor to use 100% of donations towards direct patient care.  Please stay safe and healthy.

Best wishes,

David C. Hilmers

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