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Physician Working To Raise Awareness Of, Action On Viral Hepatitis In Asia Pacific

Hundreds of millions of people are living with viral hepatitis in the Asia Pacific region, “but getting the disease on the health policy agenda of some of the worst affected countries has not been easy,” The Guardian’s “Global Development Professionals Network” blog reports. Robert Gish, co-founder of the Coalition to Eradicate Viral Hepatitis in Asia Pacific (Cevhap), “together with colleagues in Vietnam and from U.N. and other international agencies has been working to get hepatitis and liver health on the Vietnamese government’s health agenda,” the news service notes, describing a 2011 white paper that “spelt out the rationale for a dedicated policy for liver health in Vietnam.” Discussing Gish’s work in the Philippines, the blog writes, “Having become interested in hepatitis in Asia when treating Asian patients in his practice in San Francisco, Gish decided he could make a bigger impact on the disease by supporting colleagues to get it more widely recognized in Asia. His interest has spread to central Asia, another hepatitis hotspot, with a regional project underway in Armenia.” Gish said, “Every country I’ve worked with has different customs and problems, but what they have in common is a need to know their hepatitis epidemic, get government on board to find a solution, educate the population and have the right policy in place,” the blog notes (Parry, 7/28).