The Croatian Society for the Liver Diseases “Hepatos” (formerly the Croatian Association of Treated and Ill with Hepatitis Hepatos), a non-profit organization founded in 2000, was the first organization in Croatia to provide assistance to patients with hepatitis and other liver diseases.
As stated in our mission statement, we aim to “prevent the emergence and spread of disease, reduce discrimination, and raise the quality of life of the affected and their families by following high standards of action”.
Society Hepatos has been described as a locomotive pulling all national stakeholders towards the common hepatitis elimination goal and so it is the only patients’ organization appointed by Ministry of Health as member of work group creating Croatian national hepatitis strategy that still, unfortunately, awaits governmental ratification. As a constant linchpin connecting national and global stakeholders, we are trusted guide to facilitate relevant information and contacts in order to include national and regional information in global hepatitis elimination efforts.
Our organization has always been recognized for its long-term commitment to improving patients’ quality of life and direct care, prevention and public health activities, advocacy and lobbying. This was made possible by our constant dedication to learning, sharing, and adapting to the needs of our beneficiaries.The best-known example of this is our mobile clinic, Mobile InfoHep Centre (MIHC). With this unique linkage-to-care services model, aiming to provide equity of care, Society Hepatos together with epidemiologists and treating physicians (infectologists, hepatologists and gastroenterologists), offer testing for viral hepatitis C and HIV, liver examinations (Fibroscan®), counselling, information and linkage-to-care services in at-risk communities and isolated rural populations.
The model has been praised as the only one that offers in community specialized services, including liver exams provided by local experts thus directly connecting patients with local treating physicians, so the number of treatment dropouts is smaller. This practice, unique in the Western Balkan area, contributes to WHO hepatitis elimination goals and has been included in various WHO publications.
By better informing patients about their rights and improving the health literacy of the public, Society Hepatos is continuously working on more aware society that recognizes the importance of disease prevention and timely access to treatments.