From 5th to 7th December 2012, the Conference on Hepatitis B and C in Mediterranean and Balkan Countries was held in Cyprus and united a range of stakeholders. Participants urged the formulation and implementation of effective policies and targeted actions by national governments, healthcare providers and civil society in the fight against hepatitis B and C.
In her opening speech, Mrs Androulla Agrotou, Minister of Health of Cyprus, pointed out that “Hepatitis B and C belong to the category of communicable diseases which do not recognise borders and turned to become major diseases affecting mankind today.”
The Conference commends previous work in the domain of hepatitis B and C, in particular the 63rd World Health Assembly’s resolution on Viral Hepatitis of May 2010, MEP Thomas Ulmer’s Call to Action on Hepatitis B launched at the European Parliament in 2006, the European Parliament’s Written Declaration on Hepatitis C in 2007, the Call to Action launched at the Brussels Conference on Hepatitis B and C in Europe in 2010 and the WHO Prevention and Control of Viral Hepatitis Infection: Framework for Global Action, launched in July 2012.
The conference participants, who included several MePs as well as organisations such as ELPA, EASL, VHPB, World Hepatitis Alliance, the International Centre for Health, Migration and Development and the Hepatitis B and C Public Policy Association, today published a Call to Action. The Steering Group of the Conference on Hepatitis B and Hepatitis C in Mediterranean and Balkan Countries, together with its partner associations, calls on the countries of these regions to create national viral hepatitis strategies and action plans and, in particular, to:
1. Involve all sectors of society in the fight against hepatitis B and C 2. Place the fight against hepatitis B and C within a Right to Health framework 3. Actively participate in World Hepatitis Day 4. Improve awareness of the health and economic impact of hepatitis B and C 5. Strengthen surveillance of hepatitis B and C 6. Build inter-country research capacities dedicated to hepatitis B and C 7. Make prevention and control of hepatitis B and C a key part of public health action 8. Invest in better case detection and treatment programmes in primary health care 9. Develop outreach programmes to ensure more voluntary counselling and testing 10. Explore innovative ways of reaching all vulnerable groups, including migrants 11. Ensure universal access to treatment
12. Create community-based programmes to support people living with viral hepatitis
Click here to view the full Call To Action document (PDF format).
Click here to view the opening speech by Mrs Androulla Agrotou, Minister of Health of Cyprus (PDF format)