At the World Health Assembly (WHA) which held last week in Geneva, a number of resolutions were adopted which include the strategies designed to end Viral Hepatitis, HIV and Sexually Transmitted Infection (STI) epidemics.

According to a press release from the World Health Organisation, the hepatitis strategy is the first of its kind to introduce global targets for viral hepatitis.

These targets include a 30% reduction in new hepatitis B and hepatitis C infections and a 10% reduction in mortality by 2020.

In order to achieve this, the strategy will concentrate on:

– Expanding vaccination programsme for hepatitis A, B and E;
– Preventing mother-to-child hepatitis B transmission;
– Improving injection, blood and surgical safety; and increasing access to hepatitis B and C treatment.

The organisation however noted that progress has been made in eliminating HIV. Since the year 2000, an estimated 7.8 million HIV-related deaths and 30 million new infections were averted.

The delegates at the assembly passed a HIV strategy to further expand access to ART for all people living with HIV and increase prevention and testing efforts.

The goals of the strategy are:

– To reduce HIV-deaths to below 500,000
– Reduce new infections below 500,000
– Ensure there are no new infections among infants by 2020.

Thirdly, a STI strategy was developed. The strategy highlights the need to enhance prevention, screening and surveillance efforts, particularly for adolescents and other at-risk populations.

According to the organization, more than 1 million STIs are acquired daily worldwide. The agency reported that there are 357 million new infections annually, including chlamydia, gonorrhoea and syphilis.

Author: Ope Adedeji