The UN Group to Eliminate Hepatitis has called for accelerating efforts to eliminate the highly contagious liver infection by 2030, in line with the goals of the Geneva-based UN agency World Health Organization (WHO).
The group, which was launched on Egypt’s initiative in September 2022, met on Sunday at the Yale Club in New York, as the 78th session of the UN General Assembly continued its deliberations a stone’s throw away.
The group aims to build political will to promote access to hepatitis prevention, care and treatment and to provide a forum for the exchange of information, best practices, models of innovation and lessons learned.
Pakistan was represented by its Ambassador to the United States Masood Khan at the meeting, which was attended by the health minister, WHO officials, several UN ambassadors and representatives of member states.
He told the gathering that Pakistan is determined to tackle the challenge of hepatitis and achieve the WHO target of its elimination by 2030.
“Our priorities include updating the national strategic framework, improving surveillance, expanding hepatitis B birth dose vaccination, increasing HCV (hepatitis C virus) testing and treatment, and engaging community-based organizations,” he said.
“These steps will bring us closer to eliminating hepatitis as a public health threat by 2030.”
In his remarks, Ambassador Masood Khan said that the objectives of the Group of Friends align perfectly with the overarching theme of UNGA-78, which is to build trust to accelerate progress on the 2030 Agenda and its Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Focused on reconstruction and rekindling global solidarity.
According to estimates, about 15 million people in Pakistan are affected by hepatitis B and C, with 150,000 new cases reported every year. These multifaceted challenges arise from unsafe blood transfusions, unhygienic dental treatment and reused syringes.
Referring to the Global Hepatitis Elimination Coalition calling for the launch of the National Hepatitis Elimination Profile (N-HEP) initiative in 2022, the Ambassador said Pakistan plans to screen millions of individuals and treat millions of people affected by hepatitis by 2030. Is.
Masood Khan said that Pakistan deeply appreciates the important role of international partners, especially the Global Alliance for Vaccines and Immunization (GAVI), in the fight against hepatitis.
Pakistan has also formed partnerships with the corporate sector through the Corporate Coalition for Viral Hepatitis Elimination in Pakistan (CCHEP), which includes 12 major companies. These collaborations strengthen our resolve to eliminate viral hepatitis by 2030, he said.
He said Pakistan is committed to building strong partnerships domestically and internationally to ensure the success of its hepatitis eradication efforts.