Eastern Mediterranean region


  • In this region around 21 million people are infected with hepatitis B virus.  Approximately 10-20% of hepatitis B infections are acquired at birth.
  • There are 17 million people living with chronic hepatitis C infection in the region and 800,000 new hepatitis C infections every year.
  • Most of the hepatitis B and C infections in this region are acquired in the healthcare setting, such as through routine dentistry, blood transfusions and operations.
  • More than 75% of cirrhosis and liver cancer in the region is attributed to chronic hepatitis B or C.


  • Hepatitis B vaccine is incorporated in over 80% of immunisation programmes.

In order to address this public health challenge effectively, we need to ensure that governments put in place a comprehensive approach in which there is a concerted effort between the public sector, civil society, academic and the private sector.

Dr Ala Alwan, WHO Regional Director for Eastern Mediterranean

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