World Hepatitis Day 2017
The past several years have witnessed revolutionary changes in the fight to eliminate viral hepatitis, included as a target in the 2030 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and recognized as an international public health priority by the World Health Assembly.
Hepatitis C (HCV) alone accounts for an estimated 350,000-700,000 deaths per year globally, with only a fraction of those living with it diagnosed. HCV disproportionately affects vulnerable or socially marginalised populations, including people who inject drugs and HIV/TB co-infected patients.
Ensuring rapid, inexpensive and accurate diagnosis is critical for controlling hepatitis C. As treatments come to market and partners work to make them affordable and accessible, a surge in financial and political commitment to diagnosing, treating and preventing hepatitis C is urgently needed.
FIND aims to facilitate access to care through simplified and optimized diagnostic algorithms for both new and existing tools. FIND is uniquely positioned to accelerate access to improved and innovative diagnostic solutions as treatment becomes more feasible and affordable in low-resource settings.
FIND is the lead partner on a multi-year, multi-country HCV project funded by Unitaid. In Cameroon, Myanmar, Georgia, Viet Nam, Malaysia and India, FIND is working closely with local, national and international stakeholders to develop new projects and support policy makers in maximizing HCV programme reach and impact, decentralizing HCV testing capacity, improving linkages to care and reducing costs. Specific initiatives include making quality HCV testing available, improving connectivity and data optimization, and lowering testing costs through centralized procurement.
Eliminating hepatitis C globally is an uphill battle. Challenges to FIND’s ambitious initiative include the lack of available data, inadequate infrastructure, and large gaps in awareness and access to care. These obstacles and FIND’s commitment to accessible diagnostics provide an opportunity for FIND to have a major impact in the fight against hepatitis C.
For 2017 World Hepatitis Day, join us on the journey to ELIMINATE