By Keith Alcorn
Dr Gottfried Hirnschall, director of the Department of HIV/AIDS and Hepatitis of WHO told the World Hepatitis Summit in Glasgow on Wednesday that WHO will seek international agreement for the following targets:
- 90% reduction in new cases of chronic hepatitis B and C
- 65% reduction in hepatitis B and C deaths
- 80% of treatment eligible persons with chronic hepatitis B and C infections treated
Global mortality due to viral hepatitis is now outstripping deaths from HIV, tuberculosis or malaria, Dr Hirnschall said, and whereas deaths as a result of HIV and malaria have been declining for several years due to improvements in prevention and treatment coverage, mortality due to hepatitis A, B and C is still rising. Approximately 80% of all deaths from liver cancer are a consequence of viral hepatitis.
The World Health Organization estimates that approximately 400 million people worldwide are living with hepatitis B or C, but awareness of viral hepatitis as a major public health challenge remains limited. The World Hepatitis Summit, taking place in Glasgow, Scotland, this week, was convened by WHO and the World Hepatitis Alliance – the international federation of civil society groups representing people with hepatitis. The summit is designed to raise awareness among policy makers of the need for what the organisers describe as comprehensive national plans encompassing prevention, diagnosis and treatment of viral hepatitis.
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Thumbnail: Flickr CC, The Chemist, Jameziecakes