The Director-General of the World Health Organisation, Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, says new drugs have transformed hepatitis C from a lifelong, deadly disease into one that in most cases can be cured in 12 weeks.
He lamented, however, that in many countries hepatitis C medicines remain expensive and out of reach for many patients.
Ghebreyesus spoke ahead of World Hepatitis Day, which is marked every July 28, saying that- “There are five main strains of the hepatitis virus. The two most common types, B and C, cause liver damage and liver cancer.
“An estimated 325 million people globally live with hepatitis B or C, and each year these viruses kill an estimated 1.3 million people.”
He recalled that in 2016, the World Health Assembly adopted the global hepatitis strategy, setting the world’s first hepatitis elimination targets.
“The strategy calls for the elimination of viral hepatitis as a public health threat by 2030 – reducing new infections by 90 per cent and mortality by 65 per cent,” he added.