24th Aug 2017

Rydw i’n Haeddu… My role in the launch of I’m Worth… in Wales By Louise Hansford

On Tuesday 11th July, I was invited to present on the I’m Worth… campaign during a meeting in the National Assembly for Wales in Cardiff.

During the meeting, I met with community members, patient group representatives and clinicians, who came out to support the push for elimination of hepatitis C in Wales and the upcoming launch of I’m Worth… in Wales. It was inspiring to see that so many people are committed to supporting people affected by hepatitis C.

I also got to meet and speak with some people who are interested in becoming Welsh ambassadors for the I’m Worth… campaign to tell them about my role as an ambassador and how they could be involved in the campaign itself, but also in their local communities

Along with my presentation, there were presentations from Welsh Assembly Member Julie Morgan, who spoke about the importance of hepatitis C elimination in Wales, and Dr Brendan Healy, Consultant in Microbiology and Infectious Diseases at Informing Health Care, who discussed the progress in Wales to date in identifying and treating those affected by hepatitis C, something that is incredibly important if we are to eliminate the disease.

Dr Healy explained that “working as a team has led to the success in Wales”, which includes the treatment of more than 1,000 people in the past 18 months. This is something I’ve also experienced working with my teams as both an I’m Worth… ambassador and a volunteer coordinator at Inclusion Recovery Hampshire (link to external partner website). By working together and supporting everyone in the community, we are able to reach a lot more people affected by hepatitis C and offer them care and support.

Through I’m Worth… and Inclusion Recovery Hampshire, I am able to work directly with people affected by hepatitis C and help to combat the stigma that so many people can feel when they are diagnosed. Ambassadors and patient representatives have an incredibly important role in supporting identification of people with hepatitis C and encouraging them to seek care when they are ready.

My role as an ambassador and as a volunteer coordinate is to act as a link between healthcare professionals and patients, crossing boundaries to ensure people know they are worth getting support and care. I think that my personal history of drug use and hepatitis C allows me to connect with patients of Inclusion Recovery Hampshire because when trying to create bonds with people affected, you can’t undervalue the impact of one person sharing a lived experience.

Presenting at this event was a great way to spread the message of the I’m Worth… campaign into Wales and let people affected know that they are worth supporting and that there are groups and communities available to care for them. It was also great to see the many people who are willing to stand with the I’m Worth… campaign and tackle the stigma of hepatitis C head on.

 

Learn more about my story here.