“WHO urges countries to invest in eliminating hepatitis”
WHO calls on countries to take advantage of recent reductions in the costs of diagnosing and treating viral hepatitis and scale up investments in disease elimination.
A new study by WHO, published in Lancet Global Health, has found that investing US$6bn per year in eliminating hepatitis in 67 low- and middle-income countries would avert 4.5 million premature deaths by 2030, and more than 26 million deaths beyond that target date.
A total of US$58.7 billion is needed to eliminate viral hepatitis as a public health threat in these 67 countries by 2030. This means reducing new hepatitis infections by 90% and deaths by 65%.
“Today 80% of people living with hepatitis can’t get the services they need to prevent, test for and treat the disease,” said WHO Director-General Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus. “On World Hepatitis Day, we’re calling for bold political leadership, with investments to match. We call on all countries to integrate services for hepatitis into benefit packages as part of their journey towards universal health coverage.”
By investing in diagnostic tests and medicines for treating hepatitis B and C now, countries can save lives and reduce costs related to long-term care of cirrhosis and liver cancer that result from untreated hepatitis.