NOhep Government Visionaries

Bangladesh

Bangladesh has been awarded the status of NOhep Visionary for the SEARO region because of their commitment to eliminate viral hepatitis nationwide.

Bangladesh is devising a strategy to eliminate viral hepatitis which includes vaccination of adults, free treatment and an extensive awareness campaign. Led by commitment from the President, Prime-Minister and Ministry of Health, the government is committed to eliminating viral hepatitis.

Bangladesh is also known for being one of the first countries to manufacture generics hepatitis C drugs. As a result of its low-cost medicines, patients over 45 countries across the world, including India, have been treated successfully.

To achieve WHO’s elimination targets by 2030, 80% of all people living with hepatitis C globally should be tested. According to WHO’s “Global hepatitis report, 2017”, only 9% for hepatitis B and 20% for hepatitis C. Countries with large numbers of infected people should take action. Mongolia’s plan shows the determination that other countries should aim to replicate.

Brazil

Brazil has been awarded the status of NOhep Visionary for the EMRO region because of their commitment to eliminate viral hepatitis worldwide.

Brazil has championed the cause of hepatitis on the world stage for many years and has pushed for an intensified and global hepatitis response. Brazil has therefore been awarded the status of NOhep Visionary for the Americas in recognition of the country’s ongoing national initiatives and consistent international leadership in the area of viral hepatitis.

  • Nationally, Brazil has been providing care and assistance for patients of viral hepatitis through the public health system since 2002. The Brazilian Ministry of Health launched in 2015 innovative interferon-free guidelines for the treatment of hepatitis C which allows the treatment of formerly excluded populations. Moreover, the Ministry of Health have succeeded in reducing the price of chronic hepatitis C medication by over 90% from the original price.
  • Brazil have increased the number of those eligible for free hepatitis B vaccinations from those up to the age of 49 in 2013 to universal free access in 2016.
  • The Ministry of Health is developing a national strategy focused on hepatitis B and D in the Brazilian Amazon Region to promote the prevention and control of viral hepatitis in the Amazon Basin.
  • In 2017, Brazil committed to gradually lift treatment restrictions in 2018, meaning that Brazil will be able to treat all people infected with hepatitis C, ensuring the country is on target to eliminate hepatitis C. Previously treatment was restricted to only the sickest patients with advanced liver disease.

To achieve WHO’s elimination targets by 2030, 80% of all people living with hepatitis C globally should be tested. According to WHO’s “Global hepatitis report, 2017”, only 8% have been tested. Countries with large numbers of infected people should take action. Brazil’s plan shows the determination that other countries should aim to replicate.

Egypt

Egypt has been awarded the status of NOhep Visionary for the EMRO region because of their commitment to eliminate viral hepatitis nationwide, and their proactive push to diagnose and treat people.

Egypt aims to treat 1 million people living with HCV every year. Since announcing the strategy (from October 2014 to May 2017), the country has treated more than 1 050 000 patients with chronic hepatitis C infection through the government programme. Hepatitis C is one of the main public health challenges affecting Egyptians, with about 7% of its 90m population living with the virus.

In 2017, the Ministry of Health and Population adopted a large hepatitis C screening campaign. Already, between December 2016 and April 2017, around 620 000 inhabitants from more than 320 villages in different governorates have been enrolled in hepatitis C testing. A special decree from the Egyptian Prime Minister was issued to engage 6 groups of people who may be at higher risk – as a result, more than 750 000 people have been screened under the measure.

To achieve WHO’s elimination targets by 2030, 80% of all people living with hepatitis C globally should be tested. According to WHO’s “Global hepatitis report, 2017”, only 9% for hepatitis B and 20% for hepatitis C. Countries with large numbers of infected people should take action. Egypt’s plan shows the determination that other countries should aim to replicate.

The Gambia

The Gambia has been awarded the status of NOhep Visionary for the AFRO region because of their dedication to eliminate hepatitis B nationwide.

Between 2011 and 2014, the Gambia Government supported the PROLIFICA (Prevention of Liver Fibrosis and Cancer in Afric) programme which is an initiative between Imperial College London, the MRC Unit The Gambia, the Gambian Ministry of Health and Social Welfare, and the National Public Health Laboratories.

In the so-called ‘Screen and treat’ programme, the team used a cheap instant test to screen around 6000 people for the virus in the Gambian community, and referred infected individuals for further liver tests and treatment. They also screened around 6000 blood samples from blood banks, as previous research has suggested some donor blood is infected with hepatitis B. If an infected sample was detected, the team contacted the donor and referred them for tests and treatment.

The results, published in the journal The Lancet Global Health, suggest the programme is cost effective and may be able to prevent complications of the disease.

“The Gambia Government takes the public health threat of Hepatitis B as a cause of premature deaths in young adults very seriously. That is why it has given full support to both the Gambia Hepatitis Intervention Study (GHIS), a long-running Hepatitis B vaccination program funded by IARC, and the PROLIFICA project, a multicentre hepatitis B treatment programme funded by the EU. We are extremely keen that the data generated from these studies is now used to inform policy, specifically the implementation of a whole country screen-and-treat program to demonstrate that HBV elimination is feasible, in line with the recent 69th World Health Assembly global strategy declaration. It is our fervent hope that the successful strategic partnerships that have brought us thus far will continue into the future.” Said The Honourable Minister of Health and Social Welfare in the Gambia, Dr Omar M Sey.

To achieve WHO’s elimination targets by 2030, 80% of all people living with hepatitis C globally should be tested. According to WHO’s “Global hepatitis report, 2017”, only 9% for hepatitis B and 20% for hepatitis C. Countries with large numbers of infected people should take action. The Gambia’s plan shows the determination that other countries should aim to replicate.

Georgia

Georgia has been awarded the status of NOhep Visionary for the EURO region because of its commitment to eliminate viral hepatitis nationwide, and their proactive push to treat people.

In 2015, Georgia became the first country in the WHO European Region to set the goal of eliminating hepatitis C as a public health threat. Two years later, 32 000 people have been successfully cured.

Georgia set its hepatitis C elimination goal in 2015 with the support of WHO, the United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and other partners, and signed a memorandum of understanding with a pharmaceutical manufacturer with the objective of providing new highly effective treatment for hepatitis C.

A year later, a long-term strategy for 2016–2020 was adopted to eliminate the disease from the country. This strategy has driven improvements in monitoring and surveillance, infection control and prevention; it has also expanded access to hepatitis C screening, diagnosis and treatment services.

Since the launch of the programme, almost 40 000 patients have started treatment with new antiviral medicines, out of which almost 32 000 have already completed the treatment successfully. Large-scale activities are taking place to ensure at-risk groups are screened, including key populations, medical personnel and all hospitalized people.

To achieve WHO’s elimination targets by 2030, 80% of all people living with hepatitis C globally should be tested. According to WHO’s “Global hepatitis report, 2017”, only 9% for hepatitis B and 20% for hepatitis C. Countries with large numbers of infected people should take action. Georgia’s plan shows the determination that other countries should aim to replicate.

Mongolia

Mongolia has been awarded the status of NOhep Visionary for the WPRO region because of their commitment to eliminate viral hepatitis nationwide, and their proactive push to treat people.

Viral hepatitis is the second biggest killer in Mongolia, affecting up to 22% of Mongolians. In November 2015 the Mongolian Government committed to a strategy to eliminate hepatitis C in the country by 2030.

Mongolia’s commitment to elimination is demonstrated by their recent work in devising meaningful solutions to affordable financing mechanisms for those suffering from the devastating consequences of hepatitis. For example, the inclusion of hepatitis B and C medicines in the National Health Insurance Fund is fundamental to addressing the epidemic.

Mongolia’s commitment is strengthened by strong civil society advocacy. The Onom Foundation, Patient and Civil Society Council, Mongolian Gastroenterology Association, and Mongolian Society of Hepatology launched the Hepatitis Prevention, Control, and Elimination (HPCE) Program that consists of three intrinsically inter-dependent campaigns on prevention, screening, an treatment on September 8, 2014. Thanks to the persistent and unwavering effort of these organizations, the Government of Mongolia officially adopted the HPCE Program 2016 – 2020 Action Plan on September 9, 2016. The MISSION 2020 of the HPCE Program to eliminate HCV in Mongolia by 2020 and to significantly reduce viral hepatitis induced liver cirrhosis and hepatocellular carcinoma was explicitly stated in the 2016 – 2020 Action Plan of the Government of Mongolia. In April 2017, the Government of Mongolia allocated US$96MM for the HPCE Program through 2020. It is the largest amount of funding ever allocated for a national program, demonstrating the full commitment of the Government of Mongolia.

To achieve WHO’s elimination targets by 2030, 80% of all people living with hepatitis C globally should be tested. According to WHO’s “Global hepatitis report, 2017”, only 9% for hepatitis B and 20% for hepatitis C. Countries with large numbers of infected people should take action. Mongolia’s plan shows the determination that other countries should aim to replicate.

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NOhep Visionaries have been selected by the World Hepatitis Alliance, in collaboration with WHO, to spearhead the programme due to their commitment and activities to eliminate viral hepatitis. The programme is open to all governments.