Working Together for a Hepatitis-Free Future
——Statement of Shanghai APASL-NGO Joint Forum
(Feb 18, 2017)
Viral hepatitis and its sequel is a global health issue, which pose serious threats to the health of the public. Worldwide an approximate 400 million people are living with viral hepatitis, most of them live in developing countries. Hepatitis-related liver cirrhosis and liver cancer cause an estimated 1.4 million deaths each year, as well as great financial burden to patients, their families and the society. There are several challenges –the coverage of hepatitis B vaccination is still very low in certain countries, public awareness and testing rates of viral hepatitis remain low, adherence to treatment is inadequate and treatment regimens are usually not standardized. Additionally, in many countries the accessibility to and health insurance coverage for medicines for viral hepatitis remain inadequate. Viral hepatitis B and C infections among high-risk populations continues to be an unresolved problem. Stigma and discrimination towards people living with viral hepatitis still exist in the society.
In 2016, the World Health Assembly endorsed the vision of “Elimination of Viral Hepatitis as a public health threat by 2030”. To achieve this goal, governments, medical communities, NGOs, patients and the society must work together.
At the 26th Annual Meeting of Asian Pacific Association for the Study of the Liver held in Shanghai in 2017–the World Hepatitis Alliance (WHA), the Chinese Foundation for Hepatitis Prevention and Control (CFHPC), and the Coalition to Eradicate Viral Hepatitis in Asia Pacific (CEVHAP) together with 22 other non-governmental organizations issue this joint statement:
1. To promote publicity of correct knowledge on viral hepatitis prevention and treatment through multiple approaches, improve public awareness and knowledge of viral hepatitis, and build an environment without stigma and discrimination towards people living with chronic viral hepatitis.
2. To actively promote universal hepatitis B vaccination for infants and strengthen prevention of mother to child transmission of hepatitis B，reduce the new incidence of hepatitis B infection.
3. To promote mass screening and standard treatment, and reduce viral hepatitis B and C related mortality through adequate diagnosis and effective treatment, and to strengthen advocacy for care and support for high-risk populations.
4. To advocate governments to coordinate multi-stake holders and mobilize all available resources, pay more attention on prevention and control of viral hepatitis in remote and resource-constrained regions, and promote equitable access to hepatitis treatment.
5. To actively promote implementation of pilot projects on viral hepatitis prevention and treatment, and provide evidence and programmatic support for government policy making in the national response to hepatitis prevention, care and treatment.
Let’s join hands and work together with all stake-holders to eliminate viral hepatitis as a public health threat, and strive towards a hepatitis-free future!