The Seventy-Fifth World Health Assembly, held in Geneva, Switzerland on 22-28 May 2022, noted with appreciation the new Global health sector strategies on, respectively, HIV, viral hepatitis and sexually transmitted infections for the period 2022-2030 (GHSS) and approved its implementation for the next 8 years.
The new strategies propose a common vision to end epidemics and advance universal health coverage, primary health care and health security in a world where all people have access to high-quality, evidence-based and people-centred health services. The GHSS promote the disease-specific goals to end AIDS and the epidemics of viral hepatitis and sexually transmitted infections by 2030.
VIRAL HEPATITIS SECTION – MAIN ASPECTS
The chapter on viral hepatitis presents the global health sector strategy in the field. While acknowledging the importance of viral hepatitis A and E, both of which cause acute viral hepatitis, the strategy focuses primarily on chronic viral hepatitis B and C. These two infections, which may lead to cirrhosis and hepatocellular cancer, account for 96% of all viral hepatitis mortality. Hepatitis D co-infection or superinfection accelerates the progression of chronic liver disease but only among people living with hepatitis B. The chapter presents the key strategic and operational shifts required to eliminate chronic viral hepatitis B and C as public health threats by 2030, with priority targets, interventions and innovations.
Key strategic and operational shifts required to eliminate hepatitis B virus and hepatitis C virus as public health threats by 2030:
- Promote greater public and political awareness of the importance of viral hepatitis B and C prevention, testing and treatment
- Allocate increased financial resources to viral hepatitis B and C, which may include external catalytic funding and domestic funding through including viral hepatitis prevention, testing and treatment as part of essential national health benefit packages
- Scale up universal access to hepatitis B birth-dose vaccines and improved services for testing of pregnant women for preventing the vertical (mother-to-child) transmission of hepatitis B
- Ensure continued investment in primary prevention, including improved safety of medical injections and procedures, comprehensive prevention including harm reduction and other evidence-based measures for people who inject drugs, and hepatitis B vaccination for infants and at-risk populations
- Substantially increase access to hepatitis B and hepatitis C testing to reach people living with chronic hepatitis B virus and hepatitis C virus infection, of whom more than 80% and 90%, respectively are currently undiagnosed
- Substantially increase treatment access by building on existing community and health facility-based services
- Promote simplified service delivery models that include decentralizing hepatitis B and C testing and treatment to lower-level health facilities including primary care; integrating with other services, such as at harm reduction and HIV services; and task-sharing with delivery of care and treatment by non-specialists and nurses
- Address the barriers faced by populations most affected and at-risk
- Strengthen community and civil society engagement and innovative partnerships
- Advance the research agenda focusing on developing curative treatment strategies for hepatitis B virus and a preventative vaccine for hepatitis C
The chapter on viral hepatitis includes 5 strategic directions:
- Strategic direction 1: Deliver high-quality, evidence-based, people-centred services - describes viral hepatitis-specific priority actions for countries along the continuum of viral hepatitis prevention, diagnosis, care and treatment services.
- Strategic direction 2: Optimize systems, sectors and partnerships for impact - describes viral hepatitis-specific priority actions to strengthen health service delivery and other health system functions including multisectoral collaboration.
- Strategic direction 3: Generate and use data to drive decisions for action - describes viral hepatitis-specific actions to strengthen health information systems for better data availability, use and accountability.
- Strategic direction 4: Engage empowered communities and civil society - describes viral hepatitis-specific actions to engage communities, civil society organizations and affected populations in advocacy, service delivery, policy-making and initiatives to enhance service delivery and tackle social and structural barriers.
- Strategic direction 5: Foster innovations for impact - describes viral hepatitis-specific actions to foster and disseminate innovations for accelerated impact.
The Global health sector strategies on, respectively, HIV, viral hepatitis and sexually transmitted infections for the period 2022-2030 can be downloaded here in several languages.