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Lucy Chard
28 Jul 2023

Gilead shows support for equitable healthcare for indigenous populations

Pharmaceutical companies are starting to acknowledge their responsibility to making access to medicine equitable to all, and Gilead Sciences are working towards their biggest commitment in this aspect, via a new initiative to enable health equity for Australian and Canadian Indigenous communities. 

The initiative is focusing on the transmission of HIV and viral hepatitis in indigenous communities, working to support programmes and break down preconceptions and societal barriers that hinder the quality and access of care people in these communities receive. 

To execute the plan, Gilead is working with organisations in the two countries – both indigenous-led – the Lowitja Institute in Australia and CAAN Communities, Alliances & Networks in Canada. Working together, the three organisations are creating a new, US$6 million grant programme, with the aim of spreading the funds out between the countries over the course of three years. The grant aims to provide much needed financial support to activities on the ground, led by organisations and initiatives dedicated to improving healthcare in indigenous communities. 

There is a lot more dialogue in recent years surrounding the disparities in health care and subsequently health outcomes in indigenous populations, stemming from colonisation and the resulting oppression experienced by these communities, echoes of which still have a considerable effect today. 

When studying the prevalence of these infectious diseases across Australia and Canada, there is a significantly higher rate in indigenous populations compared to in non-indigenous populations. The indigenous communities also encounter comparatively more barriers when looking to gain a diagnosis or access to the required treatment.

“We recognise that the Indigenous communities in both Australia and Canada have unique healthcare needs,” commented Alex Kalomparis, Senior Vice President, Public Affairs, Gilead Sciences. "Gilead's new funding program will help promote engagement in HIV and viral hepatitis care by supporting culturally appropriate solutions that address these needs, while enabling Indigenous people to continue advocating for the care of their communities."

Gilead strongly believe that more is needed than simply funding projects, and that by working closely with, listening to, and being guided by organisations headed by indigenous people, they can help to make a meaningful change in how indigenous communities are supported. By championing culturally important initiatives Gilead are hoping to see improvements in the discrepancy of care and health outcomes in indigenous populations were HIV and viral hepatitis infection prevalence is high. 

The grant project is one aspect where Gilead is hoping to support more equitable access to healthcare globally, and combat the HIV epidemic. 

Source: Gilead Sciences. Gilead Sciences Announces Its Largest Commitment to Health Equity for Australian and Canadian Indigenous Communities. [Date Accessed 27/07/2023] 

Lucy Chard
Digital Editor - Pharma

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