This method builds on existing screening programmes – either those for other infectious diseases or those that successfully reach people born in endemic countries – to include an offer of viral hepatitis screening. A good example is screening for Tuberculosis (TB), which is offered in most European countries to people from areas where TB is common.
The main advantages of this approach are:
It generally requires fewer resources than ‘stand alone’ viral hepatitis screening.
Screening for TB is generally offered by professionals with good knowledge of infectious diseases, beneficial for providing information and reassurance for people offered viral hepatitis screening
As it is embedded in and extends existing programmes, it could be seen as more sustainable in the long term that one off or stand alone screening.
Key considerations are that by extending TB screening, which is offered on arrival, it may only reach newly arriving or shorter stay migrants, such as university students or people with fixed term employment offers, who may then disperse geographically to a different city, region or area. Newly arriving migrants are also generally younger and have often been less exposed to HBV/HCV to public health measures (antenatal screening, vaccination or sterile medical equipment) in their countries of origin due.