WHA President Dr Su Wang intervention at the 148th session of the WHO Executive Board Meeting

WHA President Dr Su Wang intervention at the 148th session of the WHO Executive Board Meeting

The World Hepatitis Alliance (WHA) with over 300 members in just under 100 countries, welcomes the development of a new global health sector strategy for viral hepatitis as outlined in paper EB148/37 presented at the 148th session of the WHO Executive Board. 

Viral hepatitis is one of the deadliest health crises of our time, claiming more than 1.4 million lives every year. Yet, the tools to prevent, diagnose and treat viral hepatitis are readily available. With a low-cost vaccine and treatments for hepatitis B and a cure for hepatitis C, WHO’s goal of eliminating viral hepatitis by 2030 is achievable. However, less than 50% of WHO member states have reported having viral hepatitis plans in place. Without the political will for action, lives will continue to be unnecessarily lost due to hepatitis.

A new global health sector strategy for viral hepatitis is a vital tool for holding countries accountable to their commitment to reach elimination. Realistic and achievable testing and treatment targets can help find the 290 million people living with viral hepatitis unaware and link them to the care they need. Prevention targets can stop more lives being affected by viral hepatitis through harm reduction services and the prevention of mother-to-child transmission. 

The populations most impacted by viral hepatitis are often those most underserved by health systems. Civil society and the affected community are a critical catalyst to ensure that no one is left behind. Civil society and the affected community must be central to the new global health sector strategy. They need to be an integral part of the planning, implementation, monitoring and governance of hepatitis elimination programmes and services everywhere. 

The World Hepatitis Alliance and our members stand ready to support WHO in the development of the new global health strategy and commit to tirelessly working for its achievement.