WHO-ILBS 2nd National Consultation on World Hepatitis Day

Hepatitis C: Can we treat all by 2020?

Every year on 28 July, WHO and partners mark the World Hepatitis Day to increase awareness and understanding about viral hepatitis and the diseases that it causes.

The theme for this year is Prevent hepatitis. Act now.

To make the 'silent' epidemic of viral hepatitis more visible and more manageable, WHO and its collaborating centre, Institute of Liver and Biliary Sciences (ILBS) organized a day-long consultation in Delhi, on 28 July 2015. The theme for this year’s consultation is “Hepatitis C: Can we treat all by 2020?”

About 184 million people are chronically infected with hepatitis C virus (HCV) globally and 90% of them reside in low and low-middle income countries. With 6 million to 12 million hepatitis C virus (HCV) infected people living in India with limited access to testing and treatment facilities, HCV has become an important public health concern. With the recent advances in the area of HCV treatment, globally and in India, there are opportunities for treating hepatitis C using the new directly acting antivirals (DAA), which have more than 90% success in curing majority of the patients. The cost of treatment in India is also expected to reduce with the production of generic DAAs.

The consultation deliberated on HCV epidemiology in India, WHO prevention in health care settings, HCV screening and diagnosis, HCV Service Delivery Model and cost of drugs and diagnostics. Clinical experts, academicians, representatives of civil society, pharmaceutical and diagnostics industries, and senior officials from the Health Ministry together discussed policy and strategic options for providing universal access to hepatitis C treatment in India by 2020.

WHO launched its first guidelines dealing with hepatitis C treatment in 2014. These guidelines were disseminated together with the 2015 WHO guidelines on the use of safety-engineered syringes for injections in health care settings.