Tuesday, August 4, 2015

New resource on Hepatitis C for Journalists worldwide

The World Federation of Science Journalists (WFSJ) on Tuesday launched a new initiative to help journalists report on the staggering toll of Hepatitis C (HCV) as well as the scientific and political barriers to treating the disease.

Launched on World Hepatitis Day (July 28, 2015), the new website www.wfsj.org/hepatitis/ presents resources written by journalists for journalists to expose the complex issues preventing effective prevention and treatment of the disease as well as a database of HCV experts from around the world who can be interviewed on a range of issues– from physician/scientists and patient groups, to public policy experts.

According to the World Federation of Science Journalists, the global disease burden of viral hepatitis is staggering.

The World Health Organization (WHO) estimates that 130-150 million people have chronic HCV worldwide, and most of them are not even aware they are infected.

People with chronic HCV have a high risk of developing serious life threatening liver diseases.

Despite the risk, there is relatively little media coverage of the HCV pandemic and the public remains largely uninformed about the transmission, detection, health risks, treatment prospects, and state of government health policy for HCV.

WFSJ Global Media Education Initiative www.wfsj.org/hepatitis/ now provides journalists around the world with the tools, data, and contacts to accurately explore the latest developments about the HCV crisis - from the latest research to the reasons why new treatments are not accessible to the majority of people suffering from the disease.
The resources are organized by theme and are specifically designed to help journalists provide strong and accurate coverage of HCV.

The modules also include video interviews with leading experts including Charles Gore (President, Word Hepatitis Alliance), Dr. Michel-Pawlotsky (Professor of Medicine, University of Paris-Est), and Dr. Karine Lacombe (Assistant Professor, Infectious and tropical Diseases, Saint-Antoine Hospital (AP-HP)).

According the new website www.wfsj.org/hepatitis, the World Federation of Science Journalists is also launching a new database of viral Hepatitis experts from around the world who speak different languages.

This database will be regularly updated and expanded. These expert sources vetted by the WFSJ are appointed to serve on the database for a period of one year at a time, and have expressed a willingness to share their expertise and insights into viral hepatitis with the media.

Damien Chalaud, Executive Director of the World Federation of Science Journalists says — “This initiative marks a unique opportunity for journalists to not only learn about HCV, but to produce stories that will make an impact. The content and resources are specifically designed to help journalists produce accurate yet compelling reports about this complex human story, with its public health policy and socio-economic perspectives. We believe it will enable journalists to look deeper into the topic and change the way they approach the HCV narrative”.

Canadian health columnist André Picard (Globe and Mail), Poul Brich Eriksen (Former Executive Producer and Special Correspondent, Danish Broadcasting Corporation) and Dr. Roberta Villa (Health communicator and journalist. Health Editor, Zadig) wrote the education modules. Penny Park (Executive Director, Science Media Centre of Canada) was the acting program editor and reviewer.


The program was developed in partnership with the World Hepatitis Alliance (WHA) and supported by a seed donation from AbbVie.