Today, on World Hepatitis Day, PATH is delighted to announce our partnership with The Hepatitis Fund (EndHep2030).
Hanoi, Vietnam: Today, on World Hepatitis Day, PATH is delighted to announce our partnership with The Hepatitis Fund (EndHep2030) to launch HepLINK Vietnam. The project will engage populations at risk of viral hepatitis to facilitate prevention, awareness raising, case detection, and treatment. The purpose is to improve viral hepatitis outcomes and provide evidence for scaling and financing interventions towards the elimination of hepatitis C and B by 2030.
In 2016, at the World Health Assembly, all 194 member states of the World Health Organization adopted a resolution committing to the elimination of viral hepatitis by 2030. However, this goal has become by and large an unfunded mandate, resulting in very few countries being on track to reach it. The Hepatitis Fund aims to accelerate the global efforts by providing catalytic funding.
On announcing the grants, Mr. Wangsheng Li, President of The Hepatitis Fund, highlighted, “Hepatitis is the most neglected infectious diseases relative to its burden globally. The Hepatitis Fund is solely dedicated to supporting viral hepatitis elimination. The grants are intended to have a sustainable impact, improving health systems and saving lives whilst providing evidence of the opportunity and feasibility to accelerate hepatitis elimination. This funding will enhance countries’ efforts to build effective elimination strategies within the framework of Universal Health Coverage.”
Viral hepatitis affects over 325 million people worldwide and claims 1.4 million lives every year, despite there being a vaccine and effective treatments for hepatitis B (a diseases which affects 257 million people, claiming 884,000 lives every year) and a cure for hepatitis C (a disease which affects 71 million people globally, claiming 400,000 lives every year). Vietnam is one of three countries (China, Japan, and Vietnam) that account for 92 percent of deaths due to chronic viral hepatitis in the Western Pacific Region. Viral hepatitis is the third cause of death in Vietnam, after stroke and heart disease. In 2017, the World Health Organization estimated that 991,153 people in Vietnam had chronic hepatitis C infection, which resulted in 13,633 decompensated cirrhosis patients, 5,992 hepatocellular carcinoma patients, and 6,459 deaths. However, only 8.1 percent of those with chronic hepatitis C infection were diagnosed, and only 5.5 percent of those diagnosed were treated. Importantly, there are an estimated 25,000 new chronic hepatitis C infections every year.
HepLINK Vietnam will demonstrate a cost-effective model of decentralized and integrated viral hepatitis service delivery, enabling primary health care services to diagnose and treat viral hepatitis among populations at risk of viral hepatitis.
“We are honored to partner with The Hepatitis Fund as part of global efforts to accelerate elimination of viral hepatitis by 2030,” said Dr. Kimberly Green, Global Director for HIV & TB at PATH. “Awareness of viral hepatitis among those most at risk remains low in Vietnam. The HepLINK Vietnam project offers an exciting opportunity to increase community-based screening, diagnosis, and treatment to speed attainment of this global goal,” she further stated.
“Awareness of viral hepatitis remains low in Vietnam. HepLINK offers an exciting opportunity to increase community-based screening, diagnosis and treatment to speed attainment of this global goal.”— Dr. Kimberly Green