<p>Roche Pakistan Ltd, one of the leading pharmaceutical and diagnostic companies of Pakistan, is actively involved in supporting patient’s welfare programs under its continuing Global Commitment to the elimination of Hepatitis C and has agreed to provide in-kind support in proprietary reagents and consumables to the Aga Khan University Outreach Health Network for its Hepatitis-C Elimination Programme. While following the infection control SOPs for COVID-19, the charitable donation ceremony was held on Wednesday, 23 June 2021. Abdul Qayyum, Country Manager, Roche Diagnostics Pakistan & Afghanistan and Shagufta Hassan, CEO, AKU Outreach Health Network signed the agreement. </p><div> </div><div>Through this contribution, the Aga Khan University Outreach Health Network will make high-quality and holistic care of Hepatitis-C accessible to patients from low-income households, across Pakistan. Spread across two years, this contribution supports the Aga Khan University Outreach Health Network with its goal of providing free-of-cost treatment to 12,000 indigent patients in Karachi, Larkana, Nawabshah, Jacobabad, Lahore, Rawalpindi, Multan, and Peshawar, through its 11 Outreach Medical Centres in three provinces. </div><div> </div><div>“I am delighted that we are able to partner with a prestigious and highly reputable institution like the Aga Khan University Hospital where quality, consistency and unparalleled focus towards patient care are key. Through this partnership, as part of Roche’s Access Program, I am confident that both the Aga Khan University Outreach Health Network and Roche Diagnostics Pakistan will play a critical role in reaching WHO’s 2030 viral hepatitis elimination targets by enabling improved patient management and delivering innovative, high-quality diagnostic solutions where they are needed most.” said Abdul Qayyum, Country Manager, Roche Diagnostics Pakistan, while addressing the room at the ceremony. </div><div> </div><div>“I would like to thank Roche Diagnostics for this generous contribution to the national cause of Hepatitis-C elimination. Today, we are a step closer to defeating this deadly virus. AKU Outreach Health Network will continue to reach out to those in need of compassionate care and provide them with the highest quality standards at their doorsteps.” commented Shagufta Hassan, CEO, Aga Khan University Outreach Health Network, Pakistan. </div><div> </div><div>“Eliminating Hepatitis-C from Pakistan will prevent nearly 30,000 deaths per year in adults in the prime of their lives and drastically reduce the burden of liver cancer in the country,” said Dr. Saeed Hamid, Professor of Medicine, AKU while stressing the importance of eliminating Hepatitis-C in Pakistan. </div><div> </div><div>“Infectious diseases, such as hepatitis, are a challenge and a great threat throughout Asia that cannot be tackled alone. At Roche, we believe that collaboration is key in driving meaningful impact to enhance sustainable healthcare. We are proud of our partnership with the Aga Khan University Outreach Health Network and look forward to providing robust and dependable HCV diagnostic solutions to help manage and achieve the program’s ambitious goal of treating 12,000 underprivileged HCV patients,” said Guido Sander, Head of High Growth Markets, Roche Diagnostics Asia Pacific in a recorded video message. </div><div> </div><div>“I would like to thank Roche Pakistan for partnering with AKU to provide access to quality and holistic treatment to indigent Hepatitis-C patients through AKU's Outreach Health Network. Each one of us has a role to play in eliminating hepatitis in Pakistan. This initiative is in line with the government's response, and with our expertise and countrywide outreach capabilities. This initiative is a much-needed step towards a cause that will benefit all of Pakistan. We look forward to continuing to build on our strong ties with Roche in Kenya, where together we are conducting world-class clinical trials to combat COVID-19 related pneumonia, cancer, multiple sclerosis, and of course, for the betterment of Pakistan, to improve the quality of life of those who need it most.” said Firoz Rasul, President Aga Khan University. </div><div> </div><div>Hepatitis C is a liver infection, caused by the Hepatitis C Virus. It is often called a “silent killer” because the infection produces few or no symptoms. Pakistan bears the second highest burden of the disease, comprising at least 5 percent of the total population. While antiviral medicines can cure more than 95% of these patients, access to screening, diagnosis, and treatment is low in most parts of the country. </div><div> </div><div>Through the generous support of donors, the Aga Khan University Outreach Health Network’s Hepatitis–C Elimination Programme aims to improve accessibility for Zakat mustehiq and other financially challenged patients. In treating each Hepatitis-C patient, the Aga Khan University Hospital’s Patient Welfare Programme along with Roche Diagnostics and other corporate partners will together bear 75% of the total cost of treatment with the remainder to be provided by generous donors to AKUH or to the Patients’ Behbud Society for AKUH’s Zakat fund and Patient Welfare Programme. </div><div> </div><div>Since the Patient Welfare Programme’s inception, 5.4 million patient visits have been supported thanks to the generosity of our donors, with a total PKR 21 billion disbursed. This has enabled needy patients access quality treatment and care at AKUH hospitals, Medical Centres and Laboratories. With the help and support of individuals and corporations, the Patients’ Behbud Society for AKUH has been able to provide financial assistance of more than PKR 2.08 billion to more than 69,500 Zakat mustehiq patients since its establishment in 2001.