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Tackling a Silent Epidemic: How Can Political Leadership Accelerate Hepatitis C Control and Treatment?

Monday 6 December 2021

The Hepatitis C Partnership for Control and Treatment (Hepatitis C PACT)* will host a session at the UNITE Global Summit Virtual 2021 "Tackling a Silent Epidemic: How Can Political Leadership Accelerate Hepatitis C Control and Treatment?".

Date: 6 December 2021

Time: 2:00 to 3:30 PM CET

Introduction & Background

Hepatitis C virus (HCV) can lead to chronic liver disease, cirrhosis, cancer, and death. Of the 58 million people with chronic HCV, only 13% (an estimated 9.4 million people) have had access to adequate treatment. Continuing disparities in access to diagnosis and treatment stand in the way of reaching World Health Organization (WHO) goals of controlling hepatitis C by 2030, and low- and middle-income countries (LMICs) – home to 75% of those living with this viral illness – bear the overwhelming brunt of the global HCV burden.

Controlling HCV requires increased awareness and commitment among decision-makers in LMICs, roll-out all-oral cures, scale-up of community-based testing to find the missing millions of undiagnosed people, and concerted effort to address domestic financial challenges that prevent the launch of national programmes. This session will engage politicians, health ministries, advocates, and other key stakeholders in an exploration of the tools and actions needed to harness countries’ strategic capacity to ensure equitable access to HCV diagnosis and treatment and bring this silent epidemic to an end.


  • To present solutions to tackle barriers to the control, early diagnosis, and treatment of HCV
  • To rally parliamentarians to advocate and serve as champions for the scaling up of testing and treatment in LMICs to enable the fulfilment of the Sustainable Development Goals

Key issues:

  • Low awareness among decision-makers about challenges in HCV diagnosis and linkage to care and the polices/actions needed to address them
  • Inadequate support for simplified viral hepatitis diagnostics to enable decentralized mass-testing strategies so more patients are detected and can be treated
  • Poor access to simple and affordable treatments for HCV in high-burden LMICs
  • Lack of sustainable financing for viral hepatitis strategies to support and catalyse global and domestic resources in priority countries for HCV control

Dr Leena Menghaney, South-Asia Head and Global IP Advisor, MSF Access Campaign


  • DG Tan Sri Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah, Director General of Health, Malaysia
  • Dr Mariam Jashi, Senior Policymaker, Global Health, Sustainable Development and Innovative Financing, Georgia, UNITE Board Member
  • Sergey Golovin, Intellectual Property and Access Lead, International Treatment Preparedness Coalition, Eastern Europe and Central Asia
  • Dr Sania Nishtar, Special Assistant to the Prime Minister and Federal Minister, Ministry of Poverty Alleviation and Social Safety, Pakistan
  • Dr Alexandre Padilha, Brazilian Federal Deputy for the State of São Paulo, Brazil

Register for the UNITE Global Summit Virtual 2021 here

* The Hepatitis C Partnership for Control and Treatment (Hepatitis C PACT) is a joint collaboration of Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF); Drugs for Neglected Diseases initiative (DNDi); FIND, the global alliance for diagnostics; and Treatment Action Group (TAG).