Background & Aims
In 2016, the World Health Assembly passed a resolution to eliminate viral hepatitis as a public health threat by 2030. We aimed to examine the status of the global viral hepatitis response.
In 2017, the World Health Organization (WHO) asked the Ministries of Health in all 194 Member States to complete a Country Profile on Viral Hepatitis policy uptake indicators, covering national plans/funding, engagement of civil society, testing guidance, access to treatment, and strategic information.
Of 194 Member States, 135 (70%) responded, accounting for 87% of the global population infected with hepatitis B virus (HBV) and/or C virus (HCV). Of those responding, 84 (62%) had developed a national plan, of which, 49 (58%) had dedicated funding, and 62 (46%) had engaged with civil society; those engaged with civil society were more likely to have a funded plan than others (52% vs. 23%, p = 0.001). Guidance on testing pregnant women (for HBV) and people who inject drugs (for HCV) was available in 70% and 46% of Member States, respectively; 59% and 38% of Member States reported universal access to optimal therapies for HBV and HCV, respectively.
Most people living with hepatitis B and C reside in a country with a national hepatitis strategy. Governments who engaged with civil society were more advanced in their response. Member States need to finance these national strategies and ensure that those affected have access to hepatitis services as part of efforts to achieve universal health coverage.