by Marie Kauna – EMTV Online, Port Moresby
Statistics have shown that some 400 million people are currently living with hepatitis, according to World Health Organisation (WHO) and World Hepatitis Alliance (WHA).
In a recent report on causes of hepatitis deaths, unsafe injection was identified to be one of the major causes of deaths. While awareness is carried out on settling this threatening issue, hepatitis is now the world’s seventh largest cause of deaths.
To harness a global momentum to eliminate viral hepatitis, a summit, believed to be the first-ever World Hepatitis Summit, began today in Glasgow. The summit has gathered representatives from more than 60 countries.
According to WHO, the aim of the summit is to “provide a wake-up call to build momentum to prevent, diagnose, treat and eventually eliminate viral hepatitis as a public health problem.”
The summit aims to help the participating countries to enhance their actions to prevent viral hepatitis infection while ensuring that infected people are diagnosed and treated accordingly.
Also at the summit, a new manual for the development and assessment of national viral hepatitis plans will be launched by WHO. Policy makers, key stakeholders, patient groups and physicians have attended this three days summit, hosted by the Scottish Government.
The participants are expected to issue a declaration that underlines their belief on behalf of their country, that the elimination of viral hepatitis is possible. Using this, WHO can urge the government to work along with them to achieve global targets for prevention, diagnosis and treatment.