History

In October 2006, a workshop on Building a Global Hepatitis C (HCV) Network was held at the 13th annual Canadian Conference on International Health in Ottawa, Canada. During the workshop, participants discussed the need for an improved understanding of HCV globally, as well as the value of a Global HCV Network.

On September 15, 2008, CSIH, the World Health Organization Special Programme for Research and Training in Tropical Diseases (WHO/TDR), the World Health Organization Regional Office for Europe, the World Hepatitis Alliance, and the Public Health Agency of Canada undertook a needs assessment that produced a situational analysis to identify:

1. What exists, what is working well, and how successes and lessons learned can be built upon (e.g., policies, protocols, strategies, action plans, etc.);

2. Gaps in knowledge and evidence, and strategies to address these gaps;

3. The most appropriate role of primary health care in HCV prevention and control; and

4. Opportunities for global communities of practice.

The needs assessment was sent to a vast number of organizations worldwide and 98% of those who responded confirmed the value and utility of a Global Hepatitis C (HCV) Network. Respondents viewed the Network as a potential vehicle through which collection and dissemination of resources for research, diagnosis, treatment, prevention, awareness, and effective outreach methods could be facilitated. The majority of respondents envisioned the Network as an information hub that would favour knowledge development, translation, and management for health professionals, care and service providers, and/or consumers where improved guidelines and models of care could be discussed, updated, and shared.

On October 27, 2008, the same collaborating organizations convened a workshop at the 15th annual Canadian Conference on International Health in Ottawa. The workshop, entitled Hepatitis C in the 21st Century: A Global Challenge – A Global Opportunity, provided a forum for participants from around the world to discuss the priority areas identified by the needs assessment, primarily: HCV prevention and awareness, research and surveillance, diagnosis, and treatment.

In August 2009, CSIH signed a Contribution Agreement with the Public Health Agency of Canada to coordinate and implement the Global HCV Network in Canada.

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