Athens 11/01/2016

Dear Minister,

I am writing to request your support for the upcoming draft global health sector strategy on viral hepatitis, 2016 – 2021, and the specific targets included, which is to be discussed at the forthcoming WHO Executive Board meeting at the end of January.

Viral hepatitis is the seventh leading cause of death globally, accounting for 1.4 million deaths per year – more than HIV/AIDS, TB or malaria. In Greece more than 450.000 are living with viral hepatitis, and 800 die per year.

By 2030, globally, 20 million are expected to die from hepatitis B and the number of people living with hepatitis C is increasing, despite an effective cure existing. A stepped-up national and global response can no longer be delayed.

Along with the World Hepatitis Alliance and the other 224 hepatitis member organizations worldwide, we strongly support the elimination goal and all of the targets outlined in the strategy. In particular, we believe it is essential that all Member States support the viral hepatitis B and C 90% diagnosis by 2030 target. In 2015, less than 5% were diagnosed.

Only through Member States showing their support is there any chance that the necessary resources will be made available, both inside WHO and, critically, from global donors. If you are attending the Executive Board meeting, we urge you to support the targets and the draft strategy and push for its adoption during the 69th World Health Assembly in May.

 

Yours Sincerely,

The Chair of The Board,

George Kalamitsis