Hepatitis C is Asia’s silent emergency
Organisation size: Small
Publication date: 28/07/2021
Credit: Zafirah Zein, Amanda Teo, Griselda Gabriele, Siti Aishah
Zafirah is a freelance writer and journalist as well as the co-editor of an independent magazine called AKAR. She was previously a correspondent for Eco-Business, where she covered topics such as the environment, sustainable development, and human rights. At Kontinentalist, Zafirah is a writer who produces data-driven stories with an Asian angle.
Amanda majored in Design Communication in LASALLE College of the Arts. During her time there, she fell in love with maps and data visualisation after studying Massimo Vignelli’s redesign of New York City’s Subway map. Inspired to learn more, she embarked on a summer exchange at Rhode Island School of Design in 2018 to study Information Design. At Kontinentalist, she participates in UI/UX design, supporting writers with designing data visualisations, as well as client work.
Griselda is an illustrator / multimedia designer previously involved in the animation and games industry. Some of her notable projects include “CoFounders of the North”, an educational gamification project for SUTD Game Lab and Singapore Management University’s business management module. At Kontinentalist, Griselda is mainly a multimedia designer in charge of assets planning and creation for Kontinentalist’s social media marketing. She also manages the company’s social media accounts and creates editorial illustrations for projects.
Aishah previously worked as a research engineer handling energy-related data and papers in academia. She takes in scientific concepts and breaks them down to something more understandable. She pursued front-end development in her own time as well as studies in Urban Science, Policy and Planning with SUTD, where she discovered dataviz as a discipline. At Kontinentalist, Aishah looks after front-end development of stories for desktop and mobile from concept to production. She also works on auxiliary data viz support for writers.
We collaborated with Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) to produce a data story about the Hepatitis C (HCV) health crisis in Asia—with a focus on underrepresented and underprivileged communities in Bangladesh, Cambodia, and Pakistan
Using different kinds of data from MSF’s fieldwork, Kontinentalist designed interactive data visualisations to show why the HCV crisis is worthy of policy-makers’ attention and how it is solvable through a simpler and more accessible treatment model.
We hope this story starts a conversation on how the HCV issue is an issue of inequality, and open pathways for international bodies and regional governments to further commit to its elimination.
We encoded key medical and developmental data to convey the scale of the invisible HCV crisis and the knock-on effects of an individual contracting HCV, such as its impact on poverty and children’s education. By blending dynamic web-based scrollytelling and illustrations, we unpack the different methods of infection and treatment models available. We highlight medical innovations such as the simplified HCV care model in Cambodia, which reduces treatment from 140 days to 7 days. Using geospatial data and mapping software, our story also provides a spatial understanding of the barriers to accessing healthcare in refugee camps in Bangladesh and the pressing challenges faced by vulnerable communities.
What was the hardest part of this project?
The biggest challenge was turning largely medical data and information into easily digestible and relatable visualisations that would make readers care about the issue and the real stories of patients suffering from Hepatitis C.
What can others learn from this project?
Our innovative data visualisation techniques circumvent the challenges in communicating important medical data to the public and inspiring action from both policymakers and the public. We used a blend of hard-coded data visualisations, personal anecdotes as well as illustrations like the refugee camp map scrolly, to emphasize the difficulties that marginalised communities such as Rohingya refugees in Bangladesh face in accessing healthcare.