Decision makers are “not waiting” to make hepatitis elimination a reality

Every year, more than a million lives are lost to hepatitis. July 28th marks World Hepatitis Day, a global initiative dedicated to raising awareness about hepatitis and calling for urgent action from all stakeholders. UNITE members Hon. Akaki Zoidze from Georgia, Hon. Karti Chidambaram from India, and Hon. Éctor Jaime Ramírez Barba from Mexico are committed to the fight against hepatitis and are calling upon urgent action.

Globally, 354 million people live with hepatitis, with more than 1.1 million lives lost each year to hepatitis B and hepatitis C. Additionally, there are approximately 2.3 million people living with both HIV and hepatitis C and 2.7 million people living with both HIV and hepatitis B.

In March of this year, the World Hepatitis Alliance organized a webinar on the World Health Organization’s (WHO) new Global Health Sector Strategy (GHSS) on HIV, viral hepatitis and sexually transmitted infections (STIs). The GHSS promotes disease-specific goals to end AIDS and the epidemics of viral hepatitis and STIs by 2030, also setting interim targets for 2025 that countries must work towards. 

UNITE member Hon. Éctor Jaime Ramírez Barbwas one of the panelists, sharing Mexico’s legislative experience and available evidence as of 2022 regarding Hepatitis C  in the country.  Hon. Éctor stated that while Mexico is on the right path with the 2024 action plan, there remains a pressing need to accelerate efforts, especially given the availability of free screening and a treatment with an efficacy of over 97% available in the country.  

This World Hepatitis Day, Hon. Éctor reaffirms his commitment to the fight to eliminate hepatitis, both as a medical doctor and as a federal deputy. 

UNITE member Hon. Akaki Zoidze also shares Georgia’s successful hepatitis C elimination program launched in 2015. At the time, it was learned that more than 5% of the adult population was living with the hepatitis C virus and that two-thirds of those living with hepatitis C were unaware of it. 

2.8 million people were screened through the program and the majority of people diagnosed with the hepatitis C virus infection were referred to services, with more than 80,000 people having received the highly effective direct anti-viral treatment, which has a cure rate of over 99%.

Decision makers should not wait, and this is a clear demonstration that the funds need to be allocated, and hepatitis C and B eliminated.

- Hon. Akaki Zoidze, Georgia

UNITE member from IndiaHon. Karti Chidambaram brings attention to the need to protect newborn babies through birth dose vaccination and to prioritize screening for expectant mothers.

This World Hepatitis Day, let us UNITE to prioritize testing, treatment, prevention, and increased investment to eliminate hepatitis and save millions of lives. Decision makers can’t wait and must act now to make hepatitis elimination a reality through political will and funding.

To find ways to engage with the campaign, click here.

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