Amazon vision bright as HepVic signs NOHep pledge
14 November 2017
At the recent World Hepatitis Summit in Sao Paulo, Hepatitis Victoria CEO Melanie Eagle and Community Education Officer Lien Tran, were among the 900 delegates from 110 countries who signed the Summit’s NOHep pledge, a statement of intent to totally eliminate viral hepatitis. The Victorian Government’s stated goal in its hepatitis B and hepatitis C strategies is to do this by 2030.
Lien Tran also gave a passionate and well received presentation to the summit on the Little Hep B Hero, you can read more about the presentation of her project which focuses on challenging stigma around the disease. Her presentation lit up the Twittersphere!
The urgency and need for effective government policies to combat the worldwide hepatitis pandemic was underscored by a summit wrap-up article in The Lancet which summarised the enormous scale of the health challenge humanity faces with the hepatitis and liver disease pandemic.
“Viral hepatitis caused an estimated 1.4 million deaths in 2015 -similar to tuberculosis and more than either HIV or malaria, yet historically these diseases have received insufficient attention from donors and policy makers,” The Lancet writes.
Despite a commitment from the World Health Assembly in May 2016 to eliminate viral hepatitis as a major public health threat by 2030, with a reduction of 90% of new cases of hepatitis B and C and reduced mortality of 65% for hepatitis B and C, the summit heard only nine countries (including Australia) are set to meet that target.
Since the summit ended, Hepatitis Victoria’s Melanie Eagle has been working in a remote area of the Amazon jungle with local communities to raise awareness about the disease.
Speaking to a local Brazillian media outlet Melanie said the country is "...on the right path" to eradicating hepatitis:
"Brazil follows the World Health Organisation guidelines and this is a positive thing for all types of hepatitis to be combated. The challenge is to give remote communities in the Amazon have access to this treatment, so we must continue with the role of building awareness, being catalysts, and transformation agents towards eradication," she says.