WHA releases statement at the World Health Assembly



This week the World Health Assembly is meeting virtually for the 74th meeting. On the agenda is a discussion about creating a new Global Health Sector Strategy (GHSS) on viral hepatitis.

During the discussion, the World Health Alliance (WHA) intervened to urge WHO Member States to act now on viral hepatitis and to include civil society organisations within their hepatitis responses. You can read our statement below.

The new document will be presented at the World Health Assembly 2022 and will a key area of discussion during the World Hepatitis Summit 2022. 


Statement

The World Hepatitis Alliance (WHA) with over 300 members in 100 countries, welcomes the development of a new global health sector strategy for viral hepatitis.

Viral hepatitis is one of the deadliest health crises of our time, claiming more than 1.1 million lives every year. 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. Hepatitis Can’t Wait any longer for action. Less than half of WHO member states have reported having viral hepatitis plans in place and lives 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 and must be central to the new strategy. They must be equitable partners in the planning, implementation, monitoring and governance of hepatitis elimination programmes and services everywhere.

WHA stand ready to support WHO in the development of the new global health strategy and commit to tirelessly working for its achievement. WHA looks forward to working with WHO on World Hepatitis Day July 28 2021, with the theme Hepatitis Can’t Wait calling for urgent action on viral hepatitis elimination.