Despite the UN aiming to eliminate viral hepatitis by 2030, a report published on Wednesday (15 June) has found that around a quarter of EU/EEA countries don’t have action plans or strategies for the prevention and control of the disease.
A monitoring survey conducted by the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC), published on Wednesday, revealed that six of the 26 EU/EEA countries observed had no action plan or strategy for viral hepatitis prevention and control.
Even though the vast majority, 19 countries, had a plan, only 11 had national funding for its implementation. Meanwhile, 22 countries have testing guidance for hepatitis B and C. but many countries’ guidance did not mention one or more of the key populations at most risk from hepatitis infections.
Cary James, chief executive at the World Hepatitis Alliance, said that there is still “a long way to go to make 2030 goals”.
The goals were set in 2015 when the United Nations adopted the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) for 2030 with one of the targets to “end the epidemics of AIDS, tuberculosis, malaria, and neglected tropical diseases and combat hepatitis, waterborne and other communicable diseases”.
This goal was backed up in 2016, when the World Health Assembly endorsed the first Global Health Sector Strategy (GHSS) for viral hepatitis, with the goal to reduce new Hepatitis B and C infections by 90% and deaths by 65% by 2030.
The world is on a mission to eliminate viral hepatitis as a major public health threat by 2030. But the World Health Organisation has warned that despite positive progress in recent years, “there is still a long way to go”.