World Hepatitis Day is an opportunity to highlight the global burden of this disease. Viral hepatitis – a group of infectious diseases known as hepatitis A, B, C, D, and E causes both acute (short-term) and chronic (long-term) liver disease. The virus is transmitted through contact with the blood or other body fluids of an infected person. In 2013, viral hepatitis was the seventh leading cause of death worldwide, compared with the tenth in 1990, and caused more deaths than AIDS, tuberculosis, and even road injuries.
- Only 1 in 20 people with viral hepatitis know they have it.
- Just 1 in 100 with the disease is being treated.
- 400 million people are infected with hepatitis B and C worldwide – more than 10 times the number of people living with HIV
- An estimated 1.45 million people died of the disease in 2013 – up from less than a million in 1990.
The World Health Organization (WHO) is urging countries to take rapid action to improve knowledge about the disease, and to increase access to testing and treatment services. In May 2016, at the World Health Assembly, 194 governments adopted the first-ever Global Health Sector Strategy on viral hepatitis and agreed to the first-ever global targets. The strategy includes a target to treat 8 million people for hepatitis B or C by 2020. The longer term aim is to reduce new viral hepatitis infections by 90% and to reduce the number of deaths due to viral hepatitis by 65% by 2030 from 2016 figures.
Currently there is an effective vaccine and treatment for hepatitis B exists; there is no vaccine for hepatitis C but there has been dramatic progress on treatment for the disease in the past few years. According to WHO, the introduction of oral medicines, called direct-acting antivirals, has made it possible to potentially cure more than 90% of patients within 2–3 months. But in many countries, current policies, regulations and cost of medications put the cure out of most people’s reach.
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has been re-designated as a Pan American Health Organization/World Health Organization (PAHO/WHO) Collaborating Center for Reference and Research on Viral Hepatitis. These WHO Collaborating Centers work to implement WHO’s Global Hepatitis Strategy priority activities, serving as a reference laboratory, and providing technical assistance for the development of viral hepatitis guidelines and policies.
The vision of CDC is to eliminate viral hepatitis in the United States and worldwide. CDC’s recently released five-year strategic plan is organized around four key elements, one of which is “Act globally to prevent, detect, and control viral hepatitis.”
MCN Foundation, More Care Now, mission is to increase patient care and safety through web-based healthcare education, skills building and entrepreneurial endeavors in order to promote and maintain the health of families and communities. Our purpose is to educate individuals, providers and organizations in developing countries around the world through healthcare education and entrepreneurial investment in order to nurture and grow healthy families and communities.