“If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go together”. I was reminded of this African proverb when reflecting on the global effort to alleviate hepatitis C.
It is estimated that 150 million people worldwide are infected with this liver disease. While a cure exists, the issue is to facilitate access to treatment, in particular for people living in low- and lower-middle income countries. Often, in these parts of the world, there are no government funded national treatment programs.
One of the common challenges with hepatitis C is that sometimes patients stop the treatment the moment they start feeling better. Working together with World Hepatitis Alliance (WHA) and two local NGOs (Guranjala Liver Centre and Health Foundation) in Pakistan over the last 12 months, Mastercard and Gilead Sciences have been exploring the potential use of the Mastercard Aid Network, a non-financial, digital solution, to address this issue.
Initially, the Mastercard Aid Network was developed to deliver humanitarian aid in areas that had no or only limited internet connectivity. Organizations such as World Vision and Save the Children have successfully used this technology for emergency and humanitarian relief efforts in different parts of the world, reaching approximately half a million people.
Working closely with our partners, we were able to re-configure the Mastercard Aid platform so that doctors can leverage it to better document a patient’s journey—in a privacy and data protection compliant manner. Patients participating in the Pakistan pilot receive a Mastercard Aid card that is being read and updated every time they visit a doctor, pharmacy or lab. That way, doctors can understand whether a patient is following through with all the necessary steps required to complete treatment – and intervene if necessary. This new delivery model – harnessing an existing technology – has the potential to retain more patients and to increase the number of successful treatments.
The collaboration with Gilead is a great example of bringing together strengths that complement each other – our expertise in digital technologies and their deep understanding of the healthcare eco-system. This initiative builds on an ongoing effort to use Mastercard technology to advance the Sustainable Development Goals – and to enable people to lead better, more autonomous lives.
My hope is that this type of private-private and public-private partnership helps to inspire others to come together and apply technology in innovative ways – to help improve people’s lives.
Watch this short video to learn more about how Mastercard & Gilead are promoting health through partnerships.