13 Apr 2018 Bridie Taylor

Viral hepatitis is making the headlines. Here’s the latest news from the field of viral hepatitis this month.

World Hepatitis Day 2018 campaign to find the missing millions launched

Under the theme of “Eliminate Hepatitis”, on World Hepatitis Day 2018 we are launching the Find the Missing Millions global campaign that focuses on the importance of screening and linkage to care and calls on all individuals and organisations to take action to find the 300 million people living with viral hepatitis unaware. Find out how to get involved here.

Hepatitis community rebukes study on hepatitis B treatment in pregnant women

A new study published in the New England Journal of Medicine found that pregnant women who received tenofovir did not experience a lower rate of mother-to-child transmission of hepatitis B compared to those who received a placebo. Organisations including the World Health Organization (WHO) and the Hepatitis B Foundation have discredited the study due to a small sample size and limited evidence.

WHO launches new surveillance protocol

Last month WHO launched their new surveillance protocol to improve understanding of the link between viral hepatitis and cirrhosis and liver cancer. The protocol calls for better documentation of the causes of death of cirrhosis and liver cancer that aren’t currently attributed to viral hepatitis.

Side event at the CND highlights disproportionate impact of hepatitis C on people who use drugs

At the Coalition on Narcotic Drugs we co-sponsored a side event with Fédération Addiction, International Doctors for Healthier Drug Policies (IDHDP), International Network for People who Use Drugs (INPUD) and Médecins du Monde (MdM). The side event discussed the global state of hepatitis C among people who use drugs and made recommendations to curb the epidemic. A blog summarising the event discussions is available here and you can watch a video recording from the event here.

Macedonia holds first national technical consultation on viral hepatitis action plan

On 23-24 March, civil society organisations and patient groups including WHA member Hepar Centar-Bitola and WHA Board Member for the European region Ivana Dragojevic joined government representatives, WHO Europe and epidemiology experts for Macedonia’s first national technical consultation on the viral hepatitis action plan.

Improvements in access to hepatitis C treatment

This month a number of countries announced increased access to hepatitis C treatments: the Ministry of Health of Malaysia will start rolling out access to hepatitis C medicines at government hospitals; Chile announced there are sufficient public health reasons to support a compulsory license on hepatitis C treatment; and it was announced that one year on from Australia’s implementation of universal access to the hepatitis C cure, 14% of Australians with hepatitis C have initiated treatment. This news coincides with the launch of WHO’s Progress report on access to hepatitis C treatment that highlights both the opportunities and challenges that exist in increasing access to treatment.

Read more in the latest edition of hepVoice, your monthly magazine from the World Hepatitis Alliance.