The Yellow Warriors Society of the Philippines (YWSP) is a national organization of hepatitis B virus (HBV) patients and advocates who fight for and believe in the eradication of Hepatitis B. Their cause is not only something they can believe in, it is personal. As Pamela Chan of YWSP shares, “Two years ago, I lost an uncle to liver cirrhosis. It’s a personal disease to me in many ways, which fuels the reason of my intent to push for its cause.”
Starting out as an online group in April 2007, the society became a virtual venue for sharing, motivating and inspiring patients and their families to continue their lives in spite of the disease. In 2010, the YWSP was formalized as a national organization and now represents the Filipino HBV patients as a voting member of the World Hepatitis Alliance in Geneva, Switzerland.In the Philippines, Hepatitis B is said to be the leading cause of liver damage resulting in liver cirrhosis and liver cancer. Studies show that in the Philippines there is a hepatitis B carrier rate of around 9-16 percent. This means that out of 10 people, at least one is a carrier of Hepatitis B.
In addition to being a serious health threat, another burden lies on the discrimination that infected individuals receive from society. Hepatitis B is hyperendemic in the Philippines. It can happen to anyone regardless of social status, education, religion, gender and sexual orientation.
In response to calls for access to hepatitis B treatment, multinational pharmaceutical company Roche Philippines has partnered with the Hepatology Society of the Philippines (HSP), with the support of the YWSP, to launch the PEGASSIST Easy Access Plan for patients with Hepatitis B.
Through the PEGASSIST Easy Access Plan, patients with Hepatitis B can have access to the hepatitis treatment medication with discounts of up to 50 percent. “The PEGASSIST Easy Access Plan socializes the medication discount system. This means, patients who truly cannot afford the medication will get a higher discount accordingly,” said Dr. Dennis Dioko, Roche specialty business unit director.
“In addition to providing discounts on the medication, Hepatitis B patients will also be provided with free selected hepatitis B laboratory tests that would have otherwise been very expensive,” said Dr. Dioko.
The program is a landmark step for all HBV organizations, patients, and their families.
Source: Philippine Daily Inquirer, August 30, 2011