Towards ending viral hepatitis as a public health threat: translating new momentum into concrete results in South‑East Asia
South East Asia Regional office of WHO under the dynamic leadership of Dr Poonam Khetrapal Singh, Regional Director has committed itself to provide all assistance to its member states in developing their national action plans and support the hepatitis initiatives in countries. In the attached editorial, the RD lays out her vision on challenges on way to elimination of hepatitis and outlines key steps to translate the rhetoric into action to eliminate hepatitis by 2030
World Hepatitis Day - 2018
28th July is observed as World Hepatitis Day (WHD) every year for the last 8 years. It is celebrated in memory of birthday of the Nobel prize-winning scientist Dr Baruch Blumberg – who first discovered the hepatitis B virus, developed a powerful vaccine against it that has saved millions of lives so far.
The purpose of earmarking a particular day for hepatitis is to raise the awareness about viral hepatitis as this is a major cause of morbidity and mortality globally including WHO South-East Asia region. It is important to know how hepatitis can be prevented, what are its signs and symptoms, how to suspect and what are the diagnostic and treatment options available. This day also provides an opportunity to advocate with policy makers for key changes in policy alongside greater investment in our goal of elimination hepatitis as a public health problem by 2030 as a part of SDG 3.3. The theme of this year’s World Hepatitis Day
The theme of this year’s World Hepatitis Day – ‘Test. Treat. Hepatitis.’
SEA Region has an estimated 40 million people living with chronic hepatitis B and an estimated 10 million with chronic hepatitis C. These infections are responsible for an estimated 410 000 deaths across the South-East Asia Region – more than HIV and TB combined. A large majority of these are preventable.
We are committed to support member states in developing their national action plans for prevention and control of Hepatitis.
SEARO marches ahead on developing framework of action for scaling up viral hepatitis response in member states.
WHO released its Global health sector strategy on hepatitis (2016-2020) in 2016 providing guidance to countries for elimination of hepatitis as a public health problem by 2030 and providing five strategic directions to achieve the same with clear 2020 and 2030 targets. In line with the global strategy, WHO SEARO organized a Regional Workshop on Scaling up Health Sector Response to Viral Hepatitis in South-East Asia Region in New Delhi, India in April 2017 with the objective to review progress and develop action plans for scaling up health sector response for Viral Hepatitis in South-East Asia Region (SEAR). The country experiences on innovations for advocacy, community engagement, service delivery and resource mobilization were also discussed in this workshop. The expected outcome of the meeting was to develop a framework of action for scaling up viral hepatitis health sector response in Member States with timelines and resource needs identified. The detailed report of meeting can be found at the link below
Eliminating viral hepatitis as a major public health threat in the Region
The Regional Action Plan for Viral Hepatitis in South-East Asia,2016-2021
Viral hepatitis poses a serious public health challenge both globally and in the WHO South-East Asia Region. Viral hepatitis accounts for over 350 000 deaths annually , which is more than the number of deaths caused my malaria and HIV combined in the Region. With the goal of ending viral hepatitis as a public health threat by 2030, the Action Plan will provide an actionable framework of priority evidence-based interventions to support national responses for prevention, control and management of viral hepatitis in the Region.