BARCELONA — Presidents from the American Association for the Study of Liver Diseases, European Association for the Study of the Liver, Asian Pacific Association for the Study of the Liver and Latin American Association for the Study of the Liver signed the Joint Society Statement for Elimination of Viral Hepatitis during the Opening Ceremony of the International Liver Congress 2016.
“The joint statement I have just received is groundbreaking and constitutes a pivotal movement. This conference will be remembered for when elimination of viral hepatitis was embraced,” Gottfried Hirnschall, MD, MPH, director of the HIV/AIDS department and global hepatitis program at the World Health Organization, said during the general session. “This means that the thousands of hepatologists, clinicians and experts who are members of the four organizations will be ambassadors of eliminating hepatitis in your own countries.”
During the session, the following recommendations to governments, health care organizations and non-government organizations were presented: recognize the public health burden posed by viral hepatitis as a priority and establish plans to curb its impact; deploy data infrastructure to assess the public health impact of viral hepatitis; establish practice guidelines for immunization, screening, diagnosis and treatment; develop and implement comprehensive hepatitis prevention programs, including universal vaccination of all newborns against HBV infection; define at-risk populations for screening for hepatitis B and C virus infection; make accurate screening and diagnostic tests available and affordable to public health programs; implement and finance health care programs to diagnose and treat individuals with chronic HBV and HCV infection according to the accepted practice guidelines with a goal to minimize and, over time, eliminate the health burden of viral hepatitis; and support research in the laboratory, in patients and in the population.
“You are not only helping someone to live a healthier life, but contributing to larger global movement of one of the main causes of death and disability,” Hirnschall said after the society representatives signed the statement. “By working together, we can accomplish this goal.”
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