The World Health Organization says it is committed to eradicating hepatitis by 2030, while stressing the need for an accelerated approach to primary health care and universal health coverage.
In his opening remarks at the World Hepatitis Summit on Tuesday, WHO Director-General Tedros Ghebreyesus reiterated the organization’s devotion to supporting countries in accelerating strategies designed to end hepatitis, online with the 2030 Sustainable Development Goals.
He said: “Hepatitis is one of the most devastating diseases on earth, but it is also one of the most preventable and treatable, with services that can be provided easily and economically at the primary health care level.
“The SDG target on hepatitis B has met and the number of people receiving hepatitis C treatment has increased ninefold to nearly 10 million, reversing the trend of rising mortality for the first time.” .
The head of the WHO said that although many countries had participated in pilot projects for the elimination of hepatitis that would have helped the agency to define strategies against the viral disease, most of the countries, however, had yet to fall into the line. its elimination by 2030.
He added: “Too many people still lose services to prevent or treat hepatitis, including children in Africa who miss the crucial birth dose of the hepatitis B vaccine.
“The reasons people lose hepatitis services are the same as the reasons they lose other health services: accessibility and affordability, because of who they are, where they live or how much they earn.
“That’s why WHO’s new global strategy for the health sector sets new actions and goals to eliminate viral hepatitis by 2030, bringing new infections and deaths to half a million each, globally, a reduction of 90% and respectively. 65%.
“WHO remains fully committed to supporting countries to accelerate their elimination by strengthening primary health care and more specialized care for those patients who need it.”
The agency estimated that around 354 million people worldwide are living with hepatitis B or C.