By DAVID HILMERS – Chief Medical Officer
As we enter the holiday season, we give thanks for your continued support through difficult times. It has been nearly two years since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, but we are finally seeing encouraging signs that our volunteers might be able to restart their travels to visit our international project sites. The government is finally allowing Australian citizens to travel internationally, and some of the countries where we work are opening up their borders, as well. Hopefully, our volunteers will be able to resume visits in early 2022.
In the meantime, we have been busy at home in Australia, have been conducting international training sessions, and have been providing consulting services remotely. Our physicians have been giving public service announcements on COVID and hepatitis to minority groups in Sydney. Weekly training sessions and patient consultations are done remotely with our partners in Myanmar who are on the ground treating dual-infected patients with HIV and hepatitis C. We are continuing work on our program to prevent mother to child transmission of hepatitis B in Kiribati, financed by a grant that we received. In addition, we have begun a new work on prevention and treatment of hepatitis B in one of the outer islands of Kiribati called Kiritimati.
A new work with the prevention and treatment of hepatitis has been started on the island nation of Niue, and training sessions for physicians on the island have begun. In addition, a conference to train up physicians on the island of Vanuatu will be held in December 2021 with participation by Hep B Free volunteer physicians.
We would not be able to continue our work without your support. We are so grateful for your help through these difficult times. We wish you all a healthy and happy holiday season and a prosperous 2022.
David C. Hilmers
Chief Medical Officer