WHA launches new report on World Hepatitis Day: Developing an HCV Investment Case for Punjab (India)

24 Jul 2020 Lucy Ferrier

On World Hepatitis Day (28 July) 2020, the World Hepatitis Alliance (WHA), in partnership with the Ministry of Health in India Punjab State and the Clinton Health Access Initiative (CHAI), is pleased to launch a new report: Developing an HCV Investment Case for Punjab (India) 

A GLOBAL LEADER

India’s Punjab State is a global leader in the hepatitis response. Since 2016, Punjab State has provided free hepatitis C treatment to all residents, treating 69,684 people between 2016 and August 2019. It is the first state in India to launch such a programme.

Despite the progress made in Punjab State to date, the State Viral Hepatitis Management Unit (SVHMU) within the Punjab State government identified that, without a scale-up of their current interventions and roll out of new interventions — including increased awareness-raising, workforce training, and decentralisation of the response to primary and community health care centres—, they would fail to reach elimination. 

In order to achieve hepatitis elimination, further funding and a viable financing plan would be required.

MAKING THE INVESTMENT CASE FOR HEPATITIS C ELIMINATION

To develop the investment case for hepatitis C elimination in Punjab state, WHA partnered with the SVHMU, WHA members, CHAI and other stakeholders. The aim of this work was to give the SVHMU a robust tool to help in their efforts to obtain increased investment in hepatitis elimination services. Launched on World Hepatitis Day (28 July) 2020, you can read the full report here.

During the development of the investment case, two scenarios were costed using a bottom-up approach: status quo and elimination. While the status quo scenario does not reach elimination, the elimination scenario achieves elimination by 2030 and was found to be not only cost-effective but cost-saving.  In fact, if an additional INR 267 crores (INR 27 crores or USD $3.5 million per year) is invested in Punjab for hepatitis C in the next 10 years, Punjab will not only reach elimination, but will save a staggering 550,000 lives and 1400 Crores (USD $188 million).

This creates a strong argument for investing in hepatitis C elimination which is particularly important as Punjab’s priority health interventions face strong competition for a limited pool of resources. Unlike HIV, TB and malaria, there is no large-scale donor funding for hepatitis. Consensus from stakeholders within Punjab State was that the primary source of funding for scale-up must come from the government. The report therefore gives the SVHMU the information they need to more effectively advocate to the Ministry of Finance for resources and so continue to ensure that Punjab State is a leader in eliminating hepatitis C.

Since completing the work in India Punjab State, the world has been changed by the COVID-19 pandemic, placing unprecedented pressure on health systems and economies. As we look towards a more uncertain financial future it has never been more important to have the tools to advocate for hepatitis financing which is why national and state investment cases such as these are so critical.

ABOUT WHA’S STRATEGIC FINANCING PROGRAMME

Financing continues to be a major barrier to the elimination of viral hepatitis.

To help address this, the World Hepatitis Alliance’s (WHA) financing for viral hepatitis programme works in partnership with Ministries of Health, civil society organisations and other partners to take a strategic approach to financing a comprehensive hepatitis C response. 

This involves answering three questions:

  • What will it cost to eliminate hepatitis C by 2030?
  • What are the clinical and economic benefits of hepatitis C elimination?
  • How can the necessary resources to achieve elimination be mobilised?

This approach not only gives the Ministry of Health the tools they need to effectively advocate for greater resources from within the government, but also helps to upskill civil society organisations around financing and enable them to be more effective advocates for a better-financed response within their country.

WHA launched this pioneering programme — which looks beyond just making the investment case to explore the different financing options required to fully-funded national viral hepatitis elimination plans — in 2017 in Nigeria. WHA worked with the Ministry of Health in Nigeria, WHA members in the country, and the Clinton Health Access Initiative (CHAI), to cost, create the investment case and explore financing options for Nigeria’s HCV programme. The full report can be accessed here.

Find out more about our financing work here.