-“When I decided to devote my life to help the ones that needed and to change the situation of Hepatitis in the world I was not only doing it because I had been spared, albeit already with Cirrhosis and on the brink of having the severeties of the disease without feeling a single symptom. What really moved me to fight this cause and become a leader was the injustice behind it” – Humberto explains.
-“Hepatitis is a sui generis ailment. It is a disease that kills slowly, that can be decades in one´s person eating away his or her liver – that is why it is known as the Silent Killer. While some people argue that there are other silent diseases, such as diabetes, high blood pressure and even some forms of cancer, those diseases are not easy to find. They keep popping up here and there, every day, which makes tackling almost impossible to the health authorities. But this is not the case of Hepatitis. The latter is already there, present in a group, in a percentage of the population, who has been carrying it for a long time. And all a government needs to do is to provide screening to the population and discover those who are sick. This can be done with rapid finger prick tests, on the streets, if you will, at the cost of cents of a dollar per test. And one who gets diagnosed, like I was, receives the chance of fighting for his or her life, as there is treatment for both viruses.
Health authorities from all over the world knew the problem was there, or rather , that it is there. But it is in silence. So.., why go there and dig out problems for their gestion? Leave them there, they are not making any noise. There are already enough issues, noisy ones , that this government must attend. Whenever someone may emerge with a symptom, a need of a transplant or an obit, that may well be during the next mandate – a matter for the next governors.
“This stance has simply caused hundreds of millions of people in every country of the world to be confined to what can be their death sentences, without ever receiving the chance of defending themselves and struggle for their survival.
Today the world is taken by a burden of Hepatitis B and C sufferers who still haven´t the faintest idea of their contamination and the fatal risk they are facing. Its estimated that about 400 million have the disease. But only 5% to 10% of the infected are diagnosed.”
“Justifying that lack of action is something that can be done by several arguments, Silva continues, but we have situations where we see the extreme – that is when we , with our Hepatitis Zero teams try to enter a country and with the aid of our Rotary volunteers carry out testings among the population and the local authorities would vehemently deny that approach. Some have even been brutal and threatening, declaring that we were “forbidden to perform that humanitarian action” , using arguments such as that we would cause them problems, as they have no structure available to treat the sick , etc. Obviously that our contra-argument in such cases is that we would also provide the medicines, etc, if needed, after all, Rotary clubs are gatherings of philanthropists who are there to do good for the community. But, even so, some countries, still do not change their stance. One of them even, decided to change its mind after they had asked for a donation of our test kits. As the material had already been shipped, they had a change of heart and confiscated the thousands of tests we had donated them.”
-“How can a leader to millions of people of one country take such a stance, simply for the convenience of not raising new problems for their health dept??! To know that millions will die and turn a blind eye to it… That is revolting!”
Thank Lord that such cases were far from being the majority during our campaign -as many stakeholders thought it would be. And most of the 50 plus countries that we approached with our humanitarian aid accepted our campaign and let us diagnose the infected.
We were happy that over 1 million were performed simultaneously in about 50 countries. And some 7.000 people have been diagnosed. We can say that those had their lives saved. For they will seek treatment, they now have their own selves to fight for their lives.”
And refusing to let the population get tested is “A CRIME AGAINST HUMANITY”