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Although not a new concept in quantitative infectious disease research, outbreak forecasting has yet to be fully integrated into formal policy and decision-making processes in many parts of the globe. One reason for this is the mismatch between the forecasting goals set out by researchers and those considered useful by policy and decision-makers.
Current treatments are able to cure hepatitis C at a relatively low cost to the NHS. This provides a great opportunity to find and treat those currently infected, curing the infection before the onset of liver failure or liver cancer. Testing is currently offered to those who are identified as being at high risk of infection. However, the way in which testing is provided needs to change in order to increase the number of people diagnosed and receiving treatment. Testing needs to be expanded to reach more people that it currently does.
With this short message on March 22, 2014, the missionary doctor in the small hospital where I worked part-time informed the medical team of eight about the outbreak of a strange and deadly disease in a village in Guinea, just across the border from Liberia.
People always ask me when I’m deploying out to Ebola outbreaks, “Aren’t you scared?” and the answer is usually, “No, not really, I’m pretty good at this”. Which I know must sound a bit strange: it’s odd to be good at a viral haemorrhagic fever. But after working for nine months on the big West African outbreak back in 2014 and 2015, and then doing my doctoral study on reproductive health during outbreaks of Ebola, it’s now very much my speciality.

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