A future free of hepatitis
- WHO highlighted need to make hepatitis care available, affordable and accessible to all without discrimination.
Why the action is needed
- Hepatitis is the only communicable disease where mortality is increasing.
- Southeast Asia has 20% of global morbidity burden of hepatitis.
- 95% of all hepatitis-related deaths are due to cirrhosis and liver cancers caused by hepatitis B and C virus.
- Viral hepatitis is preventable.
- Clean food, good personal hygiene, and access to safe water and sanitation, can protect from hepatitis A and E.
- Free hepatitis world is practical and feasible.
- We have tools to diagnose, treat, prevent and eliminate chronic viral hepatitis.
- Safe and effective vaccines exist to prevent hepatitis B.
- Antiviral drugs can manage chronic hepatitis B and cure most cases of hepatitis C.
- Inaccessible services as they are usually available at centralized/specialized hospitals
- Cannot be afforded by all.
- Late diagnosis or lack of appropriate treatment.
- Modest testing and treatment coverage gap needs to be addressed.
- To achieve 2030 target of eliminating hepatitis, some transitional targets are to be achieved.
- By 2025, we must reduce new infections of hepatitis B and C by half,
- Reduce deaths from liver cancer by 40%
- Ensure 60% of people living with hepatitis B and C are diagnosed and half of those eligible receive appropriate treatment.
Action by WHO
- An integrated Regional Action Plan for viral hepatitis, HIV and STIs 2022–2026 is being developed by WHO.
- It will ensure effective and efficient utilisation of limited resources available for the region.
- Guide countries to adopt person-centred approach rather than a disease-specific one.
- Enhance political commitment across all countries of the region
- Ensure sustained domestic funding for hepatitis
- Improve access to drugs and diagnostics by further reducing prices
- Develop communication strategies to increase awareness
- Innovate service delivery to maximize use of differentiated and people-centred service delivery options
- Decentralizing hepatitis care to peripheral health facilities, community-based venues and locations beyond hospital sites.
- On World Hepatitis Day, there is need to act together with communities and all stakeholders for a future free of hepatitis.
- This will lay firm foundation for healthier, more equitable and more prosperous world.