by Markby J, Shilton S, Sem X, Chan HK, Md Said R, Siva S, Zainuddin Z, Bakar NA, Omar H, Ruiz RJ, Gaeddert M, Tyshkovskiy A, Adee M, Chhatwal J, Kumar S, Piedagnel J-M, Zain RM, Menétrey C, Yuswan F, Nasir NH, Andrieux-Meyer I, Ismail F, Zakaria R, Hasim R, Murad S, Easterbrook P, Hassan MRA. BMJ Open 2021;11:e055142. doi: 10.1136/bmjopen-2021-055142
Summary: Elimination of hepatitis C virus (HCV) requires substantial scale-up in access to testing and treatment. This observational study, conducted at 25 primary healthcare clinics (PHCs) in Malaysia, evaluated the decentralization of HCV testing and treatment using rapid diagnostic tests in PHCs among high-risk populations, with referral of seropositive patients for confirmatory testing and treatment. Treatment was provided in PHCs for non-cirrhotic patients and at hospitals for cirrhotic patients. A significantly higher proportion of patients referred to PHCs initiated treatment compared with those who had treatment initiated at hospitals (71.0% vs 48.8%, p<0.001). This study demonstrated the effectiveness and feasibility of a simplified decentralised HCV testing and treatment model in primary healthcare settings, targeting high-risk groups in Malaysia.