SHOBHA SHUKLA, BOBBY RAMAKANT - CNS
Hepatitis B is vaccine preventable. Hepatitis C is curable. Then why 3 people die of these every minute?
(Image by CNS) Details DMCA
Despite over 350 million people living with hepatitis B and C virus globally, and 3 persons dying every minute, much-needed efforts are yet to be on-track to end viral hepatitis in next 108 months (by 2030) as promised by heads of all countries in UN General Assembly (by adopting the Sustainable Development Goals). More importantly, during the Covid pandemic, efforts to prevent and save lives from viral hepatitis had taken a backseat - which is risking losing the gains made earlier in addressing viral hepatitis across the world.
"Elimination of viral hepatitis should be part of any sound public health agenda. With a strong political will and collective leadership we can achieve the regional goal of eliminating viral hepatitis by 2030" said Wangsheng Li, cofounder and founding President of The Hepatitis Fund (endHep2030.org).
He was speaking at the 6th Asia Pacific Summit of Mayors (APCAT Summit) which brought together subnational leaders of almost 80 cities across the region. Addressing viral hepatitis was an important part of the integrated health and development agenda of this summit. The Mayors and other subnational leaders and delegates of APCAT Summit adopted an APCAT Declaration 2021 which includes the promise for "addressing the challenge of viral hepatitis as a major public health threat in the Asia Pacific region through elimination of mother to child transmission by raising public awareness and strengthening health systems through public and private partnerships."
The Declaration endorsed by 6th APCAT Summit further underlines: "We commit to doing everything to harness the power of our city governments to ensure that tobacco control, prevention of non-communicable diseases, TB control, elimination of viral hepatitis, routine immunization and scaling up Covid vaccination are effectively implemented and measured, along with other health and development initiatives, and the recovery from Covid is healthy, equitable and sustainable."
"We are very excited on the recently formed partnership between EndHep2030 and APCAT" said Wangsheng Li. Rightly so, given how critical is political leadership to advancing ending hepatitis agenda.
"Health is a political choice that should ensure leadership, accountability and sustainability for the effective implementation of public health policies and programmes and prevent current and future pandemics. Viral hepatitis is an essential part of the #HealthForAll agenda", said Dr Tara Singh Bam, Asia Pacific Director of the International Union Against Tuberculosis and Lung Disease (The Union), and Board Director of Asia Pacific Cities Alliance for Health and Development (APCAT) in Singapore.
How will we end hepatitis by 2030?
(Note: You can view every article as one long page if you sign up as an Advocate Member, or higher).