WHO's Global Hepatitis Report Sets Baseline to Eliminate Viral Hepatitis by 2030

Oceane Deschanel
Abril 21, 2017

But the World Health Organization has goals to eliminate the viral forms of the disease by the year 2030, according to a new global report by the agency.

In May 2016, the World Health Assembly endorsed the Global Health Sector Strategy (GHSS) on viral hepatitis 2016-2021, which calls for the elimination of viral hepatitis as a public health threat by 2030.

"For the first time in the history of viral hepatitis, we have an understanding of the true impact of the disease", Charles Gore, president of the World Hepatitis Alliance, said in a press release. "WHO's Global Hepatitis Report provides us with new data and a set of very specific, global and regional targets to reach by 2030 - for instance global deaths from hepatitis must be brought down from 1.34 million to lower than 469,000 people per year".

An estimated 325 million people are living with hepatitis B or C and few are aware of their condition, with death tolls from the viruses rising, the United Nations said Friday.

Since 2000, deaths due to viral hepatitis increased by 22 percent, while deaths due to other diseases (tuberculosis, malaria, HIV) have been experiencing significant drops.

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The hepatitis C virus is a bloodborne virus and the most common modes of infection are through unsafe injection practices, inadequate sterilisation of medical equipment, and the transfusion of unscreened blood and blood products. As a result, millions of people are at risk of a slow progression to chronic liver disease, cancer and death. She added, "We have the knowledge, what we need now is action". Another action highlighted in the report is to improve the access to significant affordable treatment, as now it is limited to 1% of viral hepatitis patients.

Another, highlighted in the report, is dramatically improving access to affordable treatment, which remains limited to only 1% of people living with viral hepatitis.

One such action is the scaling up of birth dose vaccination against hepatitis B. Despite the success in rolling out childhood hepatitis B vaccination, where coverage has reached 84%, coverage with the initial birth dose vaccination is still unacceptably low at 39%. There are 5 hepatitis viruses causing Hepatitis types A, B, C, D, and E.

Hepatitis is spread through blood and other body fluids. Annually more than 600,000 people die of Hepatitis B complications. Globally, between 130 and 150 million people have chronic hepatitis C infection.

Hepatitis E: It's usually caught by consuming food and drink contaminated with the poo of an infected person. The three-day event will be held between 1 and 3 November in São Paulo, Brazil, to discuss how to fast-track the path to elimination.

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