Improving Access to Hepatitis C Health Services

A $1.8-million grant over three years from the Alberta government will ensure the continued operation of a hepatitis C support program.

“In recognition of World Hepatitis Day, the Alberta government is pleased to provide a multi-year grant to the hepatitis C support program. Albertans with hepatitis C need immediate access to services specific to their needs. This successful program provides Albertans with timely and effective treatment that supports their recovery.”Tyler Shandro, Minister of Health

The hepatitis C support program was established in 2005 and has supported more than 1,700 Albertans. The program provides a comprehensive range of health services, offering faster access to services and improved care, helping more Albertans achieve a full recovery.

“Hepatitis C continues to be prevalent in Alberta and Canada. As health-care professionals, we need to be alert to its presence. Our clinic has a long history of educating patients and professionals alike and an equally long history in therapy. Continuing education is of crucial importance to identify and treat these infected patients. Once diagnosed, therapy is simple and very effective.”Dr. Robert Bailey, gastroenterologist, G.I. Medical Research Associates

The program is also helping more Albertans fully recover from hepatitis C. With the program’s treatment and support, more than 90 per cent of patients achieve a full recovery.

Quick facts

  • GI Medical Research Associates will receive the grant funding over about three years to continue to provide the hepatitis C support program.
  • The program provides comprehensive health services to newly diagnosed and follow-up patients.
  • The multi-disciplinary team at GI Medical Research Associates focuses on testing, treatment, education, counselling and other specialized care required by those diagnosed with hepatitis C.
  • About seven out of 1,000 Canadians have hepatitis C and many do not know they have it.
  • Hepatitis C is spread through blood-to-blood contact, which means that to contract hepatitis C, blood infected with the hepatitis C virus must enter the person’s bloodstream.
  • The virus infects the liver and, if untreated, can cause cirrhosis, liver cancer or liver failure.