Countries Can Tackle Viral Hepatitis
The World Economic Forum (WEF) recently published a white paper detailing one country's remarkable success against viral hepatitis.
Through expert analysis of specific policies, the WEF paper - The Art and Science of Eliminating Hepatitis: Egypt's Experience - highlighted how the concerted efforts implemented in Egypt could provide an actionable and practical roadmap for other nations.
Egypt's unprecedented campaign in which 60 million people were screened and 4 million successfully treated offers vital lessons informing global eradication efforts.
The scale of the problem is significant. Viral hepatitis currently affects over 300 million people globally.
And the five hepatitis viruses – hepatitis A, hepatitis B, hepatitis C, hepatitis D, and hepatitis E – are distinct and can spread differently.
The World Health Organization (WHO) estimates that 4.5 million deaths could be averted in the next nine years if countries scale up hepatitis elimination campaigns.
"Hepatitis C is a disease that can be beaten," commented Shyam Bishen, Head of Health and Healthcare, WEF, and one of the report's co-authors, on September 6, 2022.
"We can screen and diagnose for it, we can cure it."
"There is a strong business case for nearly every country in the world. However, Egypt has shown that even the highest-burden countries can make incredible progress in a very short timeframe with enough political commitment."
"Ultimately, there are many major health challenges that cannot yet be overcome," said Bishen.
"But viral hepatitis is not one of them."
By bringing together public, private, and non-profit stakeholders, the WEF aims to unlock new financing and design public-private partnerships to help eliminate the disease as a public health threat.
Additionally, the WHO published the updated criteria for validation of elimination of viral hepatitis B and C on September 1, 2022, which was initiated in 2007.
A series of country pilots were undertaken in Brazil, Egypt, Georgia, Mongolia, Rwanda, Thailand, and the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland during 2021–2022.
The main objective was to conduct a practical assessment and evaluate the feasibility of accurately measuring the impact and programmatic targets for hepatitis elimination as established by the WHO Interim guidance for country validation of viral hepatitis elimination.
Validation of elimination of mother-to-child transmission, or vertical transmission, of HIV, syphilis, and hepatitis B virus, is an attestation that a country has successfully met standard criteria for elimination or for being at 1 of the three levels of achievement on the 'Path to Elimination.'
An updated listing of U.S. FDA-approved hepatitis vaccines, and candidates, is posted on this PrecisionVaccinations webpage.
PrecisionVaccinations publishes fact-checked research-based vaccine news.
Note: This information was manually translated and curated for mobile readership.