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MORU Tropical Health Network researchers in Southeast Asia study various aspects of hepatitis B and C, infections that can lead to chronic liver diseases, and complications like liver cancer or cirrhosis. Researchers at MOCRU work on treatment for hepatitis C, a frequent opportunistic infection in HIV patients. MORU’s Clinical Pharmacology conducts two trials on possible treatments of hepatitis C. Hepatitis B is frequently transmitted from mother to child at birth, and SMRU researchers study mothers’ knowledge and behaviour, as well as prevention.

Community engagement, health education provided at a brothel
A MOCRU/Medical Action Myanmar worker provides sex workers with health education in a brothel in Hpakant, a large jade mine area in Myanmar

The burden of hepatitis B and C remains high in Southeast Asia, with the WHO estimating 39 million people infected with chronic hepatitis B in 2019, 10 million with hepatitis C, and 410,000 people dying due to viral hepatitis annually.

HIV in Myanmar is largely concentrated among female sex workers, men having sex with men and intravenous drug users. HIV infection rates are high, up to 40% in Yangon and north Myanmar, and co-infection rates with hepatitis C (HCV) reach up to 78% in the far north of Myanmar. MOCRU (Myanmar Oxford Clinical Research Unit) researchers are exploring a comprehensive package of integrated HIV/TB/HCV/STI (sexually transmitted infections) prevention and treatment services, provided to high-risk populations at clinics and in remote communities. Community-based health workers increase the uptake of prevention services and support compliance of long-term treatments (pictured above).

Read the full story on the Centre for Tropical Medicine and Global Health website. 

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