About Hepatitis

What is Hepatitis ?

Hepatitis means inflammation of the liver.

It can be caused by drugs, alcohol and viruses that affect the liver, such as hepatitis B or C viruses. Hepatitis can cause a range of health issues and can be fatal. Viral hepatitis is the inflammation of the liver due to a viral infection. More information about hepatitis can be found here.

According to the World Health Organisation (WHO), an estimated 325 million people worldwide live with hepatitis B and/or C. In 2013, 1.46 million people died from viral hepatitis. The number of deaths from viral hepatitis was higher than the number of deaths from malaria, tuberculosis or HIV. The number of deaths has been increasing since 1990.

The majority of deaths occur in resource-limited countries, especially in Africa. Africa is one of the most endemic areas in the world for viral hepatitis, but interventions to prevent, screen and treat viral hepatitis are very limited accross the continent, especially in sub-Saharan Africa.

The WHO Member States have endorsed a global hepatitis strategy and have called for elimination of Hepatitis B and C viruses by 2030. If no additional efforts are made to reduce the rate of new infections, it is anticipated there will be 19 million hepatitis-related deaths from 2015-2030. Elimination is feasible by applying a combination of treatment and prevention. Deaths can be prevented in the short- and medium-term with treatment.

The WHO targets for viral hepatitis for 2020 and 2030 are as follows:

• 30% reduction in the number of people newly infected with chronic viral hepatitis B and C infection by 2020, 90% reduction by 2030.

• 10% reduction in the number of people dying from viral hepatitis B and C by 2020, 65% reduction by 2030.

The PROLIFICA team are working with the WHO to reach these targets.