World Hepatitis Day is a day of reflection and awareness. Not only on how far we have come along the road to elimination of hepatitis C, but on the millions of people around the world who have lived and continue to live with the disease every day.
A historic moment: time for a movement
This year, we commit to do more than reflect. The World Health Assembly recently adopted the first “Global Health Sector Strategy on Viral Hepatitis, 2016-2021”. Its vision is to eliminate viral hepatitis by reducing new infections by 90%, and deaths due to viral hepatitis by 65%, by 2030. A cure is a significant step towards achieving elimination of hepatitis C and is now possible.
Our goals are to celebrate and connect local and regional efforts for hepatitis C elimination.
While strategy and vision are critical components, change of this scale requires real momentum. Today, the World Hepatitis Alliance will launch its #NOhep campaign, a unifying global movement to make elimination of viral hepatitis our next greatest achievement.
As members of Committed to Cure, a new European initiative, we proudly join this movement. Our goals are to celebrate and connect local and regional efforts for hepatitis C elimination, give a voice to real patient experience and invite the wider public to show their support for this historic moment in global health.
What’s happening on the ground?
In Germany, the patient initiative Deutsche Leberhilfe e. V. provides information for patients on treatment and how patients can connect with a community of support. Patients can also search for physicians who specialize in treating hepatitis C in their cities. Additionally, Deutsche Leberstiftung supports collaboration between hepatologists, not only for hepatitis C, but also other liver diseases. The initiative funds hepatology research and is affiliated with one of the largest cohorts of hepatitis C patients worldwide. This allows for in-depth investigation of the effects of modern direct-acting antivirals on the burden of disease.
Meanwhile in Greece, the Hellenic Liver Patient Association ‘Prometheus’ is busy supporting the global goal of eliminating hepatitis C by 2030. Specifically, Prometheus organizes annual disease awareness campaigns, which include free testing for viral hepatitis B and C and other advocacy. Such activities support patients diagnosed with viral hepatitis as they go through the Greek National Healthcare System. Prometheus also provides free screening for hepatitis on World Hepatitis Day and organizes activities that aim to raise awareness. This includes a week of free testing for people with hepatitis through liver elastography and rapid testing for the general public on July 28th in the central square of Athens.
The Committed to Cure Initiative
As a mix of patient advocates and treating physicians, Committed to Cure coalition members are actively on the ground in both of these projects. As a new initiative, Committed to Cure celebrates and shares examples of inspiring and successful local activities throughout the wider European community. This works in tandem with our other core objectives to ensure the patient voice is at the heart of the hepatitis C elimination movement and that we work with existing member organisations to create new practical tools for the community.
About Committed to Cure
Committed to Cure is a new European initiative supporting a future free from hepatitis C by raising awareness of the disease and highlighting the significance of cure.
Show your support
What does “cure” mean to you?
Make your commitment to cure at http://www.committedtocure.org/.
You can learn more about the #NOhep movement at http://www.nohep.org/.
Hepatology, Medicine and Policy has launched with BioMed Central and is now accepting submissions on this and related issues. For more information, visit: www.hmap.biomedcentral.com.