A global panel of experts have published their key recommendations to advance the fight against viral hepatitis.
The Commission, published in The Lancet Gastroenterology & Hepatology, assesses the global landscape of the disease, and identifies priorities at a global, regional and national level that are key to its elimination.
Viral hepatitis poses a significant threat to public health and is responsible for an estimated 1.34 million deaths globally every year. In terms of mortality, this places it on a par with other major infectious diseases, including HIV/AIDS, TB and malaria. The virus exists in several different forms, but the vast majority (96%) of global deaths are caused by hepatitis B virus (HBV) and hepatitis C virus (HCV). The virus infects and attacks the liver, which can in turn lead to cirrhosis and liver cancer.
Despite presenting a major public health challenge, viral hepatitis has been historically marginalised as a health and development priority. However, in 2015, the UN adopted a resolution calling for specific action to combat viral hepatitis as part of its 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, which was followed by the publication of the World Health Organization’s first global health sector strategy on viral hepatitis in 2016. This newfound, coordinated focus on viral hepatitis means that eliminating the disease is now a realistic goal.
Access the Commission here.
Read an interview with the lead author Professor Graham Cooke here.