2014 Resolution on Viral Hepatitis
A new resolution on viral hepatitis has been passed at the 67th World Health Assembly!
Thank you to everyone who wrote to their government in preparation for the vote - as a result 49 governments spoke at the meeting declaring their support. This government support brought a huge boost to the debate, and following their declarations, the resolution was adopted unanimously.
The Alliance was one of only three civil society organisations who spoke out at the meeting.
Information on the Resolution
What is a World Health Organization resolution?
A World Health Organization (WHO) resolution is a declaration by WHO’s 194 Member States of aims, as well as actions to be undertaken by countries and by WHO. Resolutions are adopted at the World Health Assembly, WHO’s annual meeting in May each year. The resolution on viral hepatitis calls for every country to adopt a national strategy on viral hepatitis. Resolutions are adopted by consensus (agreement from all 194 countries) and all countries therefore commit to all the contents of the resolution.
Hasn’t there already been a viral hepatitis resolution?
The first viral hepatitis resolution was adopted in 2010. It called for viral hepatitis to be put firmly on the international healthcare agenda and for coordinated action to improve hepatitis awareness, prevention, treatment and support. It also marked the adoption of World Hepatitis Day as one of only four official disease specific awareness days recognised by the WHO.
So why a new resolution?
There have been important changes since the 2010 resolution which have made it necessary to propose the new one. Firstly, the Lancet global burden of disease report has shown that viral hepatitis kills 1.5 million people every year, a far higher number than was previously thought, and one warranting a bigger response. Secondly, a follow up to our Global Policy Report has shown that there has been little progress since 2010 with only 17 countries having national strategies to combat viral hepatitis. This is dangerously low considering the burden of viral hepatitis. It is therefore imperative to strengthen the world’s resolve to tackle it.
Who is calling for it?
The resolution was proposed by Brazil, Colombia, Costa Rice, Egypt, Iran, Kuwait, Lebanon, Libya, Republic of Moldova, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, South Africa and Tunisia.
What’s in the new resolution?
All Member States have now signed up to the resolution’s recommendations, which include developing and implementing national strategies on viral hepatitis, promote involvement of civil society, put in place adequate surveillance and strengthen infection control. However it also, for the first time, calls on the World Health Organization and all relevant United Nations funds, programmes and agencies to assist by placing viral hepatitis higher up their agendas.
How do we know this new resolution will bring real change?
For the first time, the new resolution asks the World Health Organization to look at setting global goals, and also to form a monitoring system for the progress made. Previously, changes, or lack of changes, have gone unreported and unnoticed. This will not be the case after the this resolution; each and every government will be monitored by the WHO for their progress on viral hepatitis.