Hepatitis and the World Health Assembly agenda

Efforts made by the World Hepatitis Alliance (WHA) and national patient groups resulted in the addition of viral hepatitis to the 62nd World Health Assembly agenda in May 2009. However, due to the unscheduled shortening of the meeting, the discussion on hepatitis was postponed.

Whether or not the discussion on hepatitis will be on the agenda of the next World Health Assembly depends on the outcomes of the meeting of the WHO Executive Board in January 2010. The Executive Board submits reports to the Assembly and instructs it regarding matters upon which further action, study, investigation or report may be required.

Currently, WHO/Europe is preparing a brief to be included at the upcoming Executive Board meeting.

Viral hepatitis is an urgent global health threat in the 21st century and hundreds of millions of people are infected with chronic hepatitis B and C, with the majority unaware that they are infected. The high levels of infection and barriers preventing people from getting tested and receiving treatment is alarming and requires an increase in action and commitment.