Recognizing a unique need
This story is the first in a series highlighting what hepatitis C micro-elimination looks like around the world. We’re zooming in on projects in different countries to showcase the learnings, the challenges and the successes in the relentless pursuit to eliminate hepatitis C.
When Christoph Hagenlocher first met Stefanie, a woman who used intravenous drugs, she was at rock bottom. As they ate lunch together in a drug treatment center in Stuttgart, Germany, back in 2014, Stefanie opened up about the challenges she was facing. She was addicted to heroin. Her daughter wouldn’t speak to her. She was homeless. Also, she had hepatitis C.
At the time, Hagenlocher, a health economist with AbbVie Germany, was travelling the country to speak with patients and care providers, searching for a solution to the public health challenge of treating hepatitis C in people who inject drugs. As he listened to Stefanie, he heard a familiar story. She, like so many other patients, was mired in a web of other social, economic and health challenges, so it was hard for her to focus on treating the disease.