How you can use NOhep to ensure elimination is prioritised

Sometimes unexpected events can hamper viral hepatitis elimination efforts. On 14th September Hurricane Florence landed in North Carolina. Reports after the storm revealed 48 deaths, with the economic cost of the destruction estimated to be in the billions. The damage has not stopped there, Hurricanes can also have a devastating effect on the hepatitis community.

With one voice we demand action, we demand change and we demand the chance for millions of people around the world to live a life free of a global killer.

After any hurricane, outbreaks of hepatitis A and E can occur due to sanitation issues and the devastation of hurricanes can also affect patient’s access to treatment and care. With frontline points of care like pharmacies and doctors surgeries damaged or even destroyed, the needs of those living with chronic infections like hepatitis B and C can go unmet.

Other natural disasters can also be detrimental. In the aftermath of the 2005 Pakistan earthquake the World Health Organization noted the extreme risk of hepatitis B outbreaks across the country. This was due to the overcrowding, hasty surgical operations and unscreened blood transfusions. This is an often ignored indirect consequence.

In Iran, a different set of external factors are threatening its elimination programme. The recent sanctions imposed are likely to impact upon imports of materials needed to produce antiviral medications for hepatitis B and C. As well viral hepatitis screening kits, which are all imported too.² Elimination targets are only feasible if resources are available.

Seyed Moayed Alavian, founder and director of the Iran Hepatitis Network told the Lancet, “We are currently suffering from a lack of hepatitis B immunoglobulin because foreign companies are reluctant to do business with Iran. As long as foreign banks are refusing payment transactions Liver transplantation recipients and babies born to mothers infected with HBV cannot be given HBIG anymore. This is really a major concern for us”.

 

A global commitment.

We are now at a critical point in elimination efforts. Two years ago, history was made when 194 countries committed to eliminating viral hepatitis by 2030. However, only 12 countries are currently on track to eliminate hepatitis C and 72 for hepatitis B.¹

With a range of external factors affecting elimination efforts worldwide, the global hepatitis community must scale-up action to remind our decision-makers of their commitments before it is too late.

 

How YOU can use NOhep to DEMAND the elimination of viral hepatitis is ALWAYS prioritised.

We – with YOUR help – can turn this around, though. Join our global movement here to add your voice to our growing platform. Together we are louder and can ensure hepatitis receives the political prioritisation it deserves. Use the NOhep Advocacy Toolkit to put pressure on your decision makers to stick to their commitments. Learn top tips for how you can kick-start your own local or even national advocacy campaigns. Or, advocate for your decision and policy makers to sign up as NOhep Government Visionaries. So they can drive transformation, lead by example and inspire others to take action.

With one voice we demand action, we demand change and we demand the chance for millions of people around the world to live a life free of a global killer.

 

¹CDA Foundation, Polaris Observatory. Hepatitis B and C diagnosis rates in 2017. Lafayette, CO. 2017. Available at, http://www.worldhepatitisalliance.org/missing-millions/.

²Pourkarim. M. R. et. Al. Iran’s hepatitis elimination programme is under threat. The Lancet. Vol 392. September 2018. Available at, https://www.thelancet.com/action/showPdf?pii=S0140-6736%2818%2931810-5.