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Nine of 194 Countries Keeping Pledge to Eradicate Hepatitis

Egypt, Georgia, Germany, Iceland, Japan, The Netherlands, Australia, Qatar and Brazil are the only countries taking steps to overcome the disease.

AFP Relaxnews

Updated:November 2, 2017, 11:55 AM IST
Nine of 194 Countries Keeping Pledge to Eradicate Hepatitis
Representative image. (Photo courtesy: AFP)
Only nine of 194 countries which pledged last year to eradicate hepatitis by 2030 are working towards that goal, according to figures revealed Wednesday at the second World Hepatitis Summit in Brazil.

Egypt, Georgia, Germany, Iceland, Japan, The Netherlands, Australia, Qatar and Brazil are the only countries taking steps to overcome the disease, a liver inflammation which kills 1.3 million people every year.

The three-day summit in Sao Paulo -- organized by the World Health Organization (WHO) and the World Hepatitis Alliance -- welcomed representatives from 80 governments and around 200 experts to discuss diagnosis and treatment.

Host Brazil promoted its successful widespread testing strategy, which has seen 28 million screenings carried out in the last six years, aiming to reach 200 million by 2030 to cover almost its entire population.

"These results bring hope that the elimination of hepatitis can and will become a reality," said Gottfried Hirnschall, director of WHO's Department of HIV and Global Hepatitis Program.

Access to treatment was also discussed, after the WHO said Tuesday a record three million people received hepatitis C treatment in the last two years, and 2.8 million received type B treatment in 2016.

But millions are still denied breakthrough treatments such as sofosbuvir and daclatasvir -- which have a 95 percent success rate and work in 12 weeks.

For humanitarian organization Medecins Sans Frontieres (Doctors Without Borders), the solution is comparable generics.

"Governments must use every tool in their toolbox to fight for access to lower-priced generics," said Jessica Burry, pharmacist for MSF's Access Campaign, suggesting governments should "issue compulsory licenses" when patents block access.

There are 325 million confirmed hepatitis cases worldwide -- but the estimated diagnosis rates for hepatitis B and C, two of five types, are just 10 and 20 percent respectively.
(Get detailed and live results of each and every seat in the Lok Sabha elections and state Assembly elections in Andhra Pradesh, Odisha, Arunachal Pradesh and Sikkim to know which candidate/party is leading or trailing and to know who has won and who has lost and by what margin. Our one-of-its-kind Election Analytics Centre lets you don a psephologist’s hat and turn into an election expert. Know interesting facts and trivia about the elections and see our informative graphics. Elections = News18)
| Edited by: Manila Venugopal
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