July 28th is World Hepatitis Day.
This year sees the first ever World Health Organization’s Global Strategy for Viral Hepatitis, which sets a goal of eliminating viral hepatitis as a public health threat by 2030.
Click here to review the draft strategy.
The WHO sets a target to reduce 6-10 million infections to 1 million by 2030. Globally viral hepatitis is on the incline whilst HIV,TB and Malaria are seeing declines.
In Australia, chronic hepatitis B infections sit at around 250,000, with indigenous central Australians being a vulnerable sub-group for viral transmission as well as accessors to vaccination and treatment. Nationally too, our chronic hepatitis C population stubbornly sits at under 250,000 despite highly successful needle exchange programs, the good news for this cohort is that new oral treatments for hepatitis C appear to be well-tolerated and require a shorter course than interferon-based treatments and have cure rates of 90%. Comparatively, hepatitis B treatments are available but need to be lifelong for most people.
In summary the strategy sets 5 key areas of work over the period 2016-2030: vaccination, prevention of mother to child transmission, blood safe practices, harm reduction in IDU populations and treatments to achieving 1 million infections by 2030.
For access to further info on viral hepatitis consider continuing professional development courses via ASHM, sign up for nursing membership at Australian Hepatology Association, of particular clinical use is a free download copy of AHA consensus-based nursing guidelines for the management of viral hepatitis and don’t forget to Love your Liver!