WHO calls for health offensive against hep C
16 April 2018
The head of the World Health Organisation's global hepatitis program, Gottfriend Hirnschall, has strongly urged governments around the world to tackle hepatitis C with more money, resources and determination.
Only three million of the 71 million people in the world living with hepatitis C receive treatment, a disastrous figure that leaves millions vulnerable to liver disease and liver cancer.
Speaking to the Agence France Presse at a conference in Paris, Mr Hirnschall said, "...by frontloading and treating people, and treating them as quickly as possible... you save costs later.
"You save costs that you have if someone progresses to live disease or other diseases that require hospitalisation, in some instances very costly liver transplants."
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"If we are serious about saving lives, then we must bring the same passion to fighting hepatitis C as we bring to other health emergencies, and we must do it now," said Melanie Eagle, CEO of Hepatitis Victoria.
"Hepatitis C can be erradicated, but even in Australia we are seeing a drop off in the number of people seeking treatment. In Victoria an estimated 81 per cent of people living with hepatitis C remain untreated after diagnosis.
"What we need is more commitment to raise awareness that this is an urgent health issue that can be solved and solved now," said Melanie.
Coinciding with the new curative treatment for hepatitis C in 2016, Hepatitis Victoria launched its Be Free From Hep C statewide awareness raising campaign. This has since been extended this to a Love Your Liver campaign focussing on the need for at risk communities to get tested and treated for hepatitis C and tested and vaccinated for hepatitis B.