December 2020 Update

Hepatitis B Free Update
By DAVID HILMERS – Medical Director

We are grateful to all

Christmas Update 2020
By DAVID HILMERS – Chief Medical Officer

To our supporters,

2020 has been a year that has presented enormous challenges to every country in the world as well as to our families and to each of us individually.  Nearly everyone has been touched personally by the pandemic in some way or has had family members or friends who have been ill.  COVID-19 has dominated the news and the attention of medical researchers even while diseases such as viral hepatitis continue to affect hundreds of millions of people across the globe. Unfortunately, travel restrictions have hindered our efforts to provide comprehensive programs of education, training, diagnostics, and treatment in developing countries where we serve. 

Our largest treatment program in North Korea is currently on hold as a result of a total travel ban into the country and lack of teleconferencing capability.  We are hopeful that the supplies of medications and equipment that were stockpiled will suffice until we can once again resume our trips.  The training that our team has been able to give to North Korean doctors, nurses, and lab technicians gives us confidence that they have the skills to carry on.

We have brighter news in other projects.  In Myanmar your contributions aided the successful completion of a vaccination program with our partners, the Myanmar Liver Foundation.  In northern Myanmar, our specialists lead weekly training sessions via teleconference and hold discussions about patient care with national physicians.  There are currently about 50 patients co-infected with HIV and hepatitis C who receive treatment in and around the city of Putao. We maintain regular support through teleconferncing for our partners in the Pacific Islands, including Papua New Guinea, Fiji, Tonga, and Kiribati.  We have been encouraged by the recent arrival of tenofovir in Tonga, where patients can now be started on treatment.

We want to wish you a blessed holiday season and a prosperous 2021.  Yes, 2020 has been a challenging year, and we join you in your prayers for a healthier and safer year to come with the arrival of COVID-19 vaccines.  We hope to be able to report a resumption in travel to our project sites by this time next year. From each of us at Hepatitis B Free, we thank you from the bottom of our hearts for your continued support during these difficult times.

Blessings to all,
The Hepatitis B Free team

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