WHO mission assesses response to viral hepatitis in Uzbekistan

WHO

WHO assessment team members and Country Office staff display relevant WHO guidelines for the mission.

Following the invitation of the Ministry of Health of Uzbekistan, a team of WHO experts, with the participation of colleagues from the WHO Collaborating Centre for Reference and Research on Viral Hepatitis of the United States of America’s Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), conducted a rapid mission to assess the country’s response to hepatitis.

The mission, which took place on 27–29 June 2017, assessed the existing policy and governance environment, available data and information systems, testing and treatment infrastructure, human resource capacity, drug and diagnostic supply, and medicine costing and access.

The mission team commended Uzbekistan’s strong political commitment and the Research Institute of Virology’s great technical leadership. These attributes will enable the quick establishment of a successful long-term national viral hepatitis programme.

It also acknowledged the country’s achievements in controlling hepatitis B through universal newborn vaccination (high coverage with the birth dose and 3 subsequent doses of vaccine), implemented in the country since 2001.

The team’s preliminary findings and recommendations on strengthening the national surveillance of and response to viral hepatitis were presented to Dr Nurmat Atabekov, Head of the Main Department of Sanitary-Epidemiology Surveillance of the Ministry of Health of Uzbekistan.

Global goal: elimination of hepatitis by 2030

The first-ever Global health sector strategy on viral hepatitis, adopted in May 2016 by the World Health Assembly, calls for the elimination of viral hepatitis as a public health threat by 2030. The European Action plan for the health sector response to viral hepatitis, adopted in the same year, identifies priority actions to achieve this goal in the WHO European Region.

In line with these frameworks, many countries are moving to prevent and treat hepatitis infections by developing national strategies or action plans and strengthening their response. WHO assists by developing guidelines and operational manuals and by providing technical assistance on request.