WHO has issued a news release: World Hepatitis Summit harnesses global momentum to eliminate viral hepatitis.
GLASGOW - Participants at the first-ever World Hepatitis Summit will urge countries to develop national programmes that can ultimately eliminate viral hepatitis as a problem of public health concern.
“We know how to prevent viral hepatitis, we have a safe and effective vaccine for hepatitis B, and we now have medicines that can cure people with hepatitis C and control hepatitis B infection,” said Dr Gottfried Hirnschall, Director of the WHO’s Global Hepatitis Programme. “Yet access to diagnosis and treatment is still lacking or inaccessible in many parts of the world. This summit is a wake-up call to build momentum to prevent, diagnose, treat - and eventually eliminate viral hepatitis as a public health problem.”
Around 400 million people are currently living with viral hepatitis, and the disease claims an estimated 1.45 million lives each year, making it one of the world’s leading causes of death. Hepatitis B and C together cause approximately 80% of all liver cancer deaths, yet most people living with chronic viral hepatitis are unaware of their infection.
The summit, co-sponsored by WHO and the World Hepatitis Alliance, and hosted in Glasgow by the Scottish Government this week, is the first high-level global meeting to focus specifically on hepatitis, attracting delegates from more than 60 countries. The aim is to help countries enhance action to prevent viral hepatitis infection and ensure that people who are infected are diagnosed and offered treatment.
Policymakers, patient groups, physicians and other key stakeholders attending the summit aim to issue a declaration underlining their belief that the elimination of viral hepatitis is possible and urging governments to work with WHO to define and agree on global targets for prevention, diagnosis and treatment.