Resolution Calls for Action on Hepatitis

According to the CDC, an estimated 4.4 million Americans are living with chronic hepatitis, but most of them do not know they are infected.

Marking Hepatitis Awareness Month, the World Health Assembly recently approved a resolution to improve the prevention, diagnosis, and treatment of viral hepatitis, as well as proposals to improve global coordination of efforts to address noncommunicable diseases such as diabetes, cancer, heart disease, and stroke. Viral hepatitis is responsible for 1.4 million deaths per year, and 500 million people currently live with the disease. Hepatitis B and C lead are the most common cause of liver cirrhosis and cancer.

According to the CDC, an estimated 4.4 million Americans are living with chronic hepatitis, but most of them do not know they are infected.

The resolution notes the importance of implementing appropriate measures to protect vulnerable groups of people and says there is a need to improve screening.

Assembly delegates agreed to consider a range of measures to improve access to quality and affordable hepatitis medicines and diagnostics, and they asked the WHO Secretariat to continue to help countries develop robust strategies and goals on hepatitis and to report regularly on their progress. They also approved nine indicators to measure progress in implementing the WHO Global Noncommunicable Diseases Action Plan.

WHO Director-General Dr. Margaret Chan and the president of the Sixty-seventh World Health Assembly, Dr. Roberto Tomas Morales Ojeda, awarded four prizes May 22 to leaders in public health:

  • The Ihsan Dogramaci Family Health Foundation Prize was awarded to Professor Zulfiqar Bhutta of Pakistan for his global work on child and newborn survival and health.
  • The Sasakawa Health Prize was awarded to the Leprosy Control Foundation/Dominican Institution of Dermatology and Skin Surgery’s Dr. Hubert Bogaert Diaz to expand services for children affected by skin diseases other than leprosy.
  • The United Arab Emirates Health Foundation Prize was awarded to the Institution for Research in Health of Costa Rica for its work on gastric cancer and occupational exposure to pesticides.
  • The Dr. Lee Jong-wook Memorial Prize for Public Health was awarded jointly to Professor Sinata Koulla-Shiro of Cameroon and to the Czech Society of Cardiology.

This article originally appeared in the July 2014 issue of Occupational Health & Safety.

About the Author

Jerry Laws is Editor of Occupational Health & Safety magazine, which is owned by 1105 Media Inc.

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