Leave no-one behind

2 Dec 2016 Tara Farrell

 

On 3rd December, patients across the globe will unite to mark Patient Solidarity Day and reaffirm that patient-centred universal health coverage is essential so that no-one can be left behind.

For the 400 million living with viral hepatitis across the world, this is too often the case, with many suffering discrimination, marginalisation and stigmatisation at all levels of society. But not only are these people being pushed aside, they are being denied access to life-saving medical interventions.

Despite that vaccines and effective treatments for hepatitis B and a cure for hepatitis C exist, 99% of people living with this cancer-causing disease are being denied it.

Earlier this year, 194 governments adopted WHO’s first ever Global Health Sector Strategy for Viral Hepatitis (GHSS), which set a goal of eliminating hepatitis B and C by 2030, which, if reached, will reduce annual deaths by 65% and increase treatment to 80%, saving 7.1 million lives globally.

The WHO Strategy came as a response to the 2015 Sustainable Development Goals where commitments were made to combat hepatitis along with a number of other targets which are very relevant to viral hepatitis, such as target 3.4 calling for a reduction by a third in mortality from non-communicable diseases – that includes liver cancer and cirrhosis. More information here.

Central to the SDGs and underpinning the WHO Strategy is the concept of universal health coverage and “leave no-one behind” and therefore on Patient Solidarity Day, we are supporting the International Alliance of Patient Organizations (IAPO), who are coordinating a global day for patients, patients’ groups and others to stand together and proclaim that patient-centred universal health coverage is essential and that no-one can be left behind.

For more information on Patient Solidarity Day, please see IAPO’s website.