Statement to the 74th World Health Assembly
The Coalition for Global Hepatitis Elimination, of the Task Force for Global Health, supports WHO’s development of a new Global Health Sector Strategy for HIV, Viral Hepatitis and Sexually Transmitted Infections for 2022–2030. Guided by the original strategy, Member States took action decreasing hepatitis B (HBV) prevalence to <1% among young children and increasing access to hepatitis C (HCV) curative therapy. Of concern for many countries, substantial gaps remain along the continuum of prevention and care: only 43% of newborns globally and <10% in Africa receive HBV vaccination; 90% of persons with HBV and almost 80% of those with HCV remain unaware of their status; and HBV and HCV cause 1.1 million deaths annually. As the technical organization solely devoted to hepatitis elimination, the Coalition commits to assisting WHO develop a strategy to address these challenges and meet patient needs. Priorities for this next strategy include improving strategic information, advancing elimination of HBV mother to child transmission, scaling-up HBV/HCV testing, and strengthening linkages to appropriate treatment. Leveraging the unprecedented COVID-19 response together with coordinated planning across HIV, hepatitis, and STIs will build capacity for hepatitis elimination pursued in the context of universal health coverage. The strategy must enable Member States to tailor action plans suited to their specific contexts and target populations. To strengthen the evidence base for high burden countries, the Coalition, in partnership with Ministries of Health and other stakeholders profiles specific policies and programs necessary to scale up prevention, diagnosis, and treatment, calling attention to national achievements and actions needed for progress. The Coalition will continue to convene partners around WHO priorities, coordinate international- and country-level activities, and assist Member States set and achieve their hepatitis elimination goals. Guided by a global strategy endorsed by this body, working together we will achieve hepatitis elimination.