Video Message by WHO Director-General Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus on the Occasion of World Hepatitis Day
July 28, 2018
World Hepatitis Day is an opportunity to highlight one of the world’s most pressing public health issues. Globally, viral hepatitis B and C affect 325 million people. But only 1 in 10 of those people have been tested and only 1 in 5 have received appropriate treatment. Viral hepatitis slowly and silently degrades a person cells, leading to liver cancer and cirrhosis, which result in 1.3 million deaths every year.
The good news is, we have new medicines that can cure hepatitis C in three months or less. WHO’s new recommendations call for treating everybody with hepatitis C aged 12 years or older with these new drugs. That’s about 70 million people.
While testing and treatment are key to eliminating hepatitis, we also need a strong focus on prevention. We have a clear vision for elimination, and we have the tools to do it. But we must accelerate progress to achieve our goal of eliminating hepatitis by 2030.
Crucially, our efforts to eliminate hepatitis must be embedded in our efforts to achieve universal health coverage, based on stronger systems that enable people to access all the health services they need, without facing financial hardship.
Today, I send my greetings to everyone marking World Hepatitis Day in Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia. This is a country with one of the highest burdens of liver cancer and cirrhosis in the world, but one that has also taken on the elimination challenge with commitment and force. We need more countries to follow Mongolia’s lead. Let’s remember that eliminating viral hepatitis will prevent liver cancer and save lives.
Please join us in our mission to ensure access to testing and treatment for hepatitis for everyone, everywhere. I thank you.