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Eradicating Viral Hepatitis By 2030: Here’s What Needs To Be Done

Contributed by: Anjali Dharra

Introduction

Every year, 28th July is observed as  “World Hepatitis Day” in an effort to spread awareness for the prevention of viral hepatitis (global infectious disease) among individuals all over the world. 

In 2016, at the World Health Assembly, most countries made a historic commitment to eradicate viral hepatitis by the end of 2030.

Since then, a number of countries have met the global target of 2020 of reducing the number of viral hepatitis B cases, whilst some nations have failed to meet their targets.

However, the treatment process received by people for hepatitis C has increased ten folds. 

It is estimated that about 354 million people all around the globe are living with viral hepatitis B and C (life-threatening infections) as stated by the World Health Organization (WHO).

This figure can give a clear idea of the substantial global burden of viral hepatitis in the case of mortality.

Viral hepatitis B and C infections are on par with other global infectious diseases, such as HIV, malaria, and tuberculosis.

Hepatitis is the inflammation of the liver that can cause severe complications and is also proven to be fatal if not treated on time.

The liver is one of the most vital organs that play an essential role in the body.

While other organs in the human body perform a single or specialised function, the liver has more than 500 functions.

From detoxifying harmful things and supplying blood to the brain, to combating infections and storing nutrients, the liver is a significant part of the body that has an excellent capacity for cleansing blood.

One of the most interesting facts about the liver is that it is the only organ that can regenerate itself.

However, the regeneration process can only take place in case the body has some portion of the healthy liver.

Viral hepatitis, a worldwide public health challenge, has largely been left-behind in government healthcare priorities, globally.

However, with the rapid awareness campaigns about the perils of hepatitis, this ignorance is expected to be addressed and the focus brought back to this deadly disease. 

Now, it’s time to call for strict actions to combat the spread of viral hepatitis using the adaptations of the Viral Hepatitis Strategy agenda 2030 for developing a sustainable environment.

This strategy to eliminate viral hepatitis covers the first 6 years (2016 to 2021.) of the – health agenda conference.

This complete plan is based on the prevention and control of viral hepatitis infection by providing a framework for global actions, and on two resolutions adopted by the World Health Assembly in 2010 and 2014 respectively. 

Although the strategy covers all five strains of viral hepatitis, yet, hepatitis B and hepatitis C are the main focus of this agenda because these two types are life-threatening and can even lead to liver cirrhosis, liver damage, and more severe implications such as cancer if left untreated and undiagnosed. 

Outline of the Viral Hepatitis-free Strategy

The prime outlines of ending viral hepatitis strategy are:

It provides you with a vision of a viral hepatitis-free world. People who are living with hepatitis infection can have access to safe and affordable diagnosis and treatment. 
An aim is to end the viral hepatitis threat by the year 2030.
A target of reducing the incidences of viral hepatitis infection.
Advancement of treatment technologies, medications, as well as ways to enhance awareness.

Directions of the Viral Hepatitis-free Strategy

The viral hepatitis strategy actions are prioritised in five different directions, namely: 

Strategy Direction 1

Information for focused action: Generate a strong strategic information system to understand epidemics of viral hepatitis and focus on the response.

Strategy Direction 2

Interventions for impact: Representing essential and impactful medical interventions for the continuation of viral hepatitis services, and must include health benefits packages.

Strategy Direction 3

Delivering for equity: Bolstering healthcare and community systems to furnish high-quality medical services to attain impartial coverage and the highest impact on the world.

Strategy Direction 4

Financing for sustainability: Offering health strategies to minimise costs, enhance efficiencies, and reduce the risks of financial adversity for people who need medical interventions for hepatitis viral infections.

Strategy Direction 5

Innovation for acceleration: Facilitating and embracing innovations to compel rapid progress in minimising incidences of viral hepatitis.

The entire viral hepatitis strategy covers all five strains of hepatitis virus, namely hepatitis A, B, C, D, and E. These hepatitis virus strains are different and, therefore, they have different modes of transmission that affect a variety of populations, resulting in varied health outcomes. 

An effective and efficient response to viral hepatitis requires a comprehensive range of necessary actions while delivering tailored medical interventions for each one of the hepatitis viruses at the same time.

Final thoughts

Viral hepatitis infection has taken quite a toll on people’s lives, global healthcare systems and communities.

Because of the increased incidences of this particular viral contagious disease day by day, there is a strict need to implement all the outlines and directions related to ending viral hepatitis. 

Although only a few countries have grabbed the attention and embraced these opportunities, yet, actions have been fragmented and inadequate. 

With the strategic agenda in place, this is the time to come together for a coherent and strong public health response that must prioritise effective and affordable medical interventions.

Moreover,  high-quality healthcare service delivery needs to be prioritised to ensure equity, promote health programmes at the public level to achieve sustainable development and, establish clear stakeholders’ accountability as well as responsibility. 

By following these above-mentioned viral hepatitis eradication policies or strategies in an optimum and timely manner, we can surely overcome or exterminate viral hepatitis by the end of this decade.

The infection can be managed very easily by undergoing an early diagnosis and implementing preventive measures when you experience the symptoms. 

Get Tested For Hepatitis Today!

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