Scotiabank is backing Montréal sans HépC, an ambitious community-based program to prevent and cure hepatitis C cases in Montreal.

Viral hepatitis is one of the world’s deadliest infectious diseases, affecting 58 million people worldwide. In Canada, Hepatitis C reduces life expectancy more than any other infectious disease, including HIV. And Hepatitis C is the only chronic viral infection that can be cured.

A C$1.35m donation from Scotiabank to the McGill University Health Centre (MUHC) Foundation is helping to fund Montréal sans HépC. This an innovative new programme that aims to eliminate hepatitis C in Montreal through community-based advocacy and health care. The goal is to make Montreal one of the first cities in the world to stop the transmission of the infection.

“We are proud to invest in life-changing health initiatives that help to break through the barriers that keep people in our communities from reaching their full potential,” said Meigan Terry, SVP and Chief Sustainability, Social Impact and Communications Officer at Scotiabank.

“Through ScotiaRISE, we are pleased to take part in supporting the McGill University Health Centre (MUHC) Foundation and Montréal sans HépC to advance this innovative community-based advocacy and health care initiative.”

Montréal sans HépC: aims to eliminate hepatitis C infections in Montreal

Montréal sans HépC has an ambitious goal. It plans to completely eliminate hepatitis C infections in Montreal. Specifically, it is working closely with affected communities in affected communities, and tailoring support to their needs. The initiative has partnered with 16 community organisations to create grassroots interventions tailored to underserved, at-risk groups. These include indigenous communities, immigrants, prisoners, people experiencing homelessness, men who have sex with men, and people who inject drugs.

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Hepatitis C: treatable in 95% of cases

Hepatitis C is a chronic infection of the liver that can lead to cirrhosis, an impairment of liver function caused by severe scarring that can be deadly. Hep C is treatable in 95% of cases. But many individuals don’t seek treatment because of the stigma surrounding the disease or simply because they are unaware of the risk.

“Hepatitis C impacts our most vulnerable patients the hardest. They’re often living with a lot of challenges and have difficulty accessing care. With Montréal sans HépC, we’re finding new ways to bring these people care so they can be diagnosed and cured. We believe that our community-based approach will help us eliminate hepatitis C in Montreal,” said Dr. Marina Klein, Research Director, MUHC.