Monday July 16, 2018

WHO Calls for stepped up action to Eliminate Hepatitis B and C by 2030

The World Health Organisation is calling for the elimination of the public health threat by reducing new infections by 90 percent and death by 65 percent by 2030

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WHO Hepatitis campaign
World Health Organization poster for Hepatitis Campaign. VOA
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  • The World Health Organization is calling for stepped up action to eliminate Hepatitis B and C by 2030
  • WHO reports viral Hepatitis B and C affected 325 million people and caused 1.34 million deaths in 2015
  • Officials say it can be done if countries show the political will and invest in available tools to rid the world of the ailment

Geneva, July 29, 2017: On the eve of World Hepatitis Day, the World Health Organization is calling for W. It says the goal can be reached by scaling up diagnosis, treatment and prevention of the diseases, which can cause death from cirrhosis and liver cancer.

WHO reports viral Hepatitis B and C affected 325 million people and caused 1.34 million deaths in 2015, and is calling for the elimination of the public health threat by reducing new infections by 90 percent and death by 65 percent by 2030.

Officials say it can be done if countries show the political will and invest in available tools to rid the world of the ailment. They say the epidemic of Hepatitis B, which mainly affects the African and Western Pacific regions, can be prevented by vaccinating infants against the disease.

Also read40 Million Death Per Year Due to Non Communicable Disease : WHO

In regard to Hepatitis C, the director of the WHO Department of HIV Global Hepatitis Program, Gottfried Hirnschall, says there has been a sea change in the treatment of this disease. He tells VOA until four years ago no good treatment existed for Hepatitis C, which kills nearly 400,000 people annually.

“Then we saw the revolution. New drugs came on the market that are really fantastic drugs,” Hirnschall noted. “They have very limited side effects. You only have to take them for three months and 95 percent of people are cured. And, even those who are not cured in the first round, we now have even alternatives that we can provide to those.”

Hirnschall notes the revolutionary kickoff of the new drugs was hampered by the huge $84,000 cost for the three-month course of treatment. But he says the cost in developing countries now has dropped to between $260 and $280.

A survey of 28 countries, representing about 70 percent of the global hepatitis burden, finds efforts to eliminate hepatitis are gathering speed. It says nearly all the countries have set up high-level elimination committees and more than half are allocating money to move the process forward. (VOA)

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Zimbabwe President Robert Mugabe has been named the new Goodwill Ambassador by WHO

New WHO head Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus praised Zimbabwe for its commitment to public health

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Robert Mugabe
President of Zimbabwe and Chairman of the African Union Robert Mugabe. Wikimedia

United Nations, October 21, 2017 : The World Health Organization (WHO) has appointed Zimbabwe President Robert Mugabe as a goodwill ambassador to help tackle non-communicable diseases.

New WHO head Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus praised Zimbabwe for its commitment to public health, BBC reported on Saturday.

But critics say Zimbabwe’s health care system has collapsed, with the president and many of his senior ministers going abroad for treatment.

They say that staff are often unpaid and medicines are in short supply.

Tedros, who is Ethiopian, is the first African to lead the WHO and replaced Margaret Chan, who stepped down from her 10-year post in June.

He was elected with a mandate to tackle perceived politicisation in the organisation.

The WHO head praised Zimbabwe as “a country that places universal health coverage and health promotion at the centre of its policies to provide health care to all”.

But US-based campaign group Human Rights Watch said it was an embarrassment to give the ambassador role to Mugabe given his record on human rights.

“If you look at Zimbabwe, Mugabe’s corruption, his utter mismanagement of the economy has devastated health services there,” said executive director Kenneth Roth.

“Indeed, you know, Mugabe himself travels abroad for his health care. He’s been to Singapore three times this year already. His senior officials go to South Africa for their health care.

“When you go to Zimbabwean hospitals, they lack the most basic necessities.”

The idea of hailing Mr Robert Mugabe “as any kind of example of positive contribution to health care is absolutely absurd”, he added.

President Robert Mugabe heard about the award while attending a conference held by the WHO, a UN agency, on non-communicable diseases (NCDs) in Montevideo.

He told delegates how his country had adopted several strategies to combat the challenges presented by NCDs, which the WHO says kill about 40 million people a year and include cancers, respiratory diseases and diabetes.

“Zimbabwe has developed a national NCD policy, a palliative care policy, and has engaged United Nations agencies working in the country, to assist in the development of a cervical cancer prevention and control strategy,” Mugabe was reported by the state-run Zimbabwe Herald newspaper as saying.

ALSO READ Countries with best Health Care in the world

But the President admitted that Zimbabwe was similar to other developing countries in that it was “hamstrung by a lack of adequate resources for executing programmes aimed at reducing NCDs and other health conditions afflicting the people”.

Zimbabwe’s main MDC opposition party also strongly criticised the WHO move.

“The Zimbabwe health delivery system is in a shambolic state, it is an insult,” said spokesman Obert Gutu.

“Robert Mugabe trashed our health delivery system. He and his family go outside of the country for treatment in Singapore after he allowed our public hospitals to collapse.” (IANS)