Sida et infections sexuellement transmissibles | Actualités | Strengthening strategic information for hepatitis elimination

Strengthening strategic information for hepatitis elimination

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Partipants of the meetingGroup picture for partipants of the regional consultation 13 December 2018 – National hepatitis programme managers, experts, and national and international civil society organizations from the Eastern Mediterranean Region convened in Casablanca, Morocco, from 10 to 11 December 2018 for a regional consultation on strengthening strategic information for viral hepatitis. The aim of the meeting was to discuss ways to harness strategic information to better guide hepatitis elimination in the Region. 

Viral hepatitis is a considerable public health threat in the Region, with hepatitis B and C causing more deaths than HIV, malaria or tuberculosis. The Region is one of the most affected by hepatitis in the world, with more than 15 million people chronically infected with hepatitis C and 21 million with hepatitis B. However, there is insufficient information on the magnitude of viral hepatitis in most countries in the Region.

During the consultation, participants reviewed current strategic information capacities for viral hepatitis, identifying the different data sources available to better understand and monitor the viral hepatitis epidemic. Participants also highlighted the gaps and difficulties with existing surveillance systems and data quality in countries, and identified ways to strengthen them, including for mortality data, to better assess the impact of hepatitis elimination.

WHO shared the tools and guidance available to help understand the hepatitis epidemic and strengthen strategic information capacities in countries. The tools presented included DHIS2 and how countries such as Pakistan are implementing it, as well as a tool for acute hepatitis, guidance for biomarker surveys and the WHO protocol to estimate mortality from viral hepatitis.

Participants discussed the new global reporting system for viral hepatitis, country experiences of reporting for the first time and how different stakeholders including civil society, related health programmes such as blood safety, public health laboratories, cancer registries and others involved in the hepatitis response can work together at the national level to ensure more complete, accurate and comprehensive data for viral hepatitis.

A_panel_discussion_at_the_meetingPanel discussion on how national hepatitis programmes and civil society can work together for comprehensive data reportingDuring the meeting, participants were familiarized with the hepatitis C calculator that provides estimates for how quickly health systems can get back their investments in elimination through the savings made in health care costs from the prevented cases of cirrhosis and liver cancer.

The participants identified some immediate actions that countries need to take to strengthen their strategic information capacities for viral hepatitis and to better monitor progress towards hepatitis elimination.

They also discussed the way forward for surveillance of new and current infections, mortality and the next round of global reporting, and identified WHO's role in supporting countries through the provision of strategic information, tools and guidelines and by undertaking advocacy with policy-makers.