Industry and civil Society unite to help deliver hepatitis C medication in low-and middle-income countries

18 Jan 2017 Tara Farrell

Today, MasterCard signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Gilead Sciences, Inc. to explore, in a pilot programme, the potential of using the Mastercard Aid Network to simplify the delivery of hepatitis C treatment in low-and-middle income countries.

The collaboration between MasterCard, Gilead Sciences and an on the ground civil society group will be the first instance where the closed-loop, points-based Mastercard Aid Network would be used in a healthcare context.

An estimated 150 million people worldwide are infected with hepatitis C, with the vast majority of those people living in low- and middle-income countries. Many of these countries lack government funded national treatment programs for hepatitis C, the majority of healthcare expenditure being through out-of-pocket payments.

The Mastercard Aid Network is a non-financial digital solution that helps facilitate the distribution and tracking of aid funds. Organizations such as World Vision and Save the Children have successfully used this technology for emergency and ongoing humanitarian relief efforts in the Philippines and Yemen.

Under the MOU, a working group will be established to explore in a small scale pilot, the creation of a digitized tool, coupled with a monitoring and evaluation program that physicians can use to track patient treatment outcomes.

“This initiative builds on an ongoing effort to use our technology to advance the Sustainable Development Goals – and to enable people to lead better, more autonomous lives”, said Leigh Amaro, senior vice president, Enterprise Partnerships, Mastercard. “In slightly more than a year, the Mastercard Aid Network has helped international aid organizations increase their impact in some of the most distressed communities. By combining our digital technology with Gilead’s medical expertise, we look to have the same effect in delivering health services to those people who need it the most.”

“Unlike in so many disease areas, in hepatitis C we have a cure”, said Charles Gore, president of the World Hepatitis Alliance. “The issue is facilitating affordable access to treatment for the tens of millions who need it. We have to explore smart and innovative mechanisms that simplify the treatment process, cut out inefficiencies and help drive down costs. This initiative, which combines access to hepatitis C treatment with the Mastercard Aid Network platform and civil society’s ability to deliver on the ground, is exactly the sort of public-private partnership that we need to explore.”

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