On the eve of the World Hepatitis Summit in Brazil (1-3 November - http://www.worldhepatitissummit.org/), the World Health Organization (WHO) reported increasing global momentum in the response to viral hepatitis. A record three million people were able to obtain treatment for hepatitis C over the preceding two years, and 2.8 million more people embarked on lifelong treatment for hepatitis B in 2016.
Hosted by the Government of Brazil, the World Hepatitis Summit 2017 was co-organized by WHO and the World Hepatitis Alliance. The Summit aims to encourage more countries to take decisive action to tackle hepatitis, which still causes more than 1.3 million deaths every year and affects more than 325 million people.
Many countries are demonstrating strong political leadership, facilitating dramatic price reductions in hepatitis medicines, including through the use of generic medicines - which allow better access for more people within a short time.
In 2016, 1.76 million people were newly treated for hepatitis C, a significant increase on the 1.1 million people who were treated in 2015. The 2.8 million additional people starting lifelong treatment for hepatitis B in 2016 was a marked increase from the 1.7 million people starting it in 2015. WHO acknowledged however that these milestones represented only initial steps – access to treatment must be increased globally if the 80% treatment target is to be reached by 2030.
Funding remains a major constraint, most countries lacking adequate financial resources to fund key hepatitis services. [Source: WHO News Release, 31 October 2017. http://www.who.int/mediacentre/news/releases/2017/hepatitis-c-cure/en/]