The case for simplifying and using absolute targets for viral hepatitis elimination goals.


Razavi H., Blach S., Razavi-Shearer D., Polaris O.

Journal of viral hepatitis, vol.28, pp.12-19, 2021 (Journal Indexed in SCI) identifier identifier identifier

  • Publication Type: Article / Article
  • Volume: 28
  • Publication Date: 2021
  • Doi Number: 10.1111/jvh.13412
  • Title of Journal : Journal of viral hepatitis
  • Page Numbers: pp.12-19

Abstract

The 69th World Health Assembly endorsed the Global Health Sector Strategy for Viral Hepatitis, embracing a goal to eliminate hepatitis infection as a public health threat by 2030. This was followed by the World Health Organization's (WHO) global targets for the care and management of hepatitis B virus (HBV) and hepatitis C virus (HCV) infections. These announcements and targets were important in raising awareness and calling for action, however, tracking countries' progress toward these elimination goals has provided insights to the limitations of these targets. The existing targets compare a country's progress relative to its 2015 values, penalizing countries who started their programs prior to 2015, countries with a young population, or countries with a low prevalence. We recommend that (1) WHO simplify the hepatitis elimination targets, (2) change to absolute targets and (3) allow countries to achieve these disease targets with their own service coverage initiatives that will have the maximum impact. The recommended targets are: reduce HCV new chronic cases to ≤5 per 100,000, reduce HBV prevalence among 1-year-olds to ≤0.1%, reduce HBV & HCV mortality to ≤5 per 100,000, and demonstrate HBV & HCV year to year decrease in new HCV and HBV related HCC cases. The objective of our recommendations is not to lower expectations or diminish the hepatitis elimination standards; but to provide clearer targets that recognize the past and current elimination efforts by countries, help measure progress toward true elimination, and motivate other countries to follow suit.