The global community Sunday commemorated the 2019 World Hepatitis Day under the theme: “Invest in Eliminating Hepatitis” focused on highlighting the need for governments and policymakers to increase investments in hepatitis elimination all over the world.
Every year, July 28 is globally observed as World Hepatitis Day; led by the World Health Organization, the annual celebration aims to create awareness about the deadly – yet silent – hepatitis viral disease which affects millions of people worldwide. According to WHO, about 257 million people are living with chronic hepatitis B while 71 million others are living with chronic hepatitis C globally, leading to the deaths of about 1.4 million people, every year.
“A new WHO costing analysis underlines that an additional funding of US$ 6 billion (2.2 billion) per year will be needed in low and middle-income countries between 2016 and 2030, in order to achieve hepatitis elimination targets. The analysis is aligned with WHO [Sustainable Development Goals’] Health Price Tag from 2017. Only US$ 0.5 billion were invested in 2016, and this sum primarily consisted of domestic financing,” according to a message to policymakers on World Hepatitis Day 2019 published on WHO`s website.
The World Health Organization noted that 124 countries were in the process of developing national hepatitis plans and strategies. “But many of these plans lack funding. Only 58% of the 82 reported low and middle-income countries had included domestic funding in their national hepatitis plans [in 2017],” the statement added.
WHO said increased global investments in hepatitis elimination was not only a smart decision but also critical for achieving broader health outcomes including the Universal Health Coverage (UHC) by 2030. “Funding hepatitis testing and treatment services as part of UHC efforts can cut global deaths by 5% and increase healthy life years by about 10% by 2030,” says WHO.
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