January 15th, 2013
A report from the Economic Intelligence Unit (EIU), The Silent Pandemic: Tackling Hepatitis C with Policy Innovation, highlights the urgent need to tackle the growing social and economic issues associated with hepatitis C (HCV).
The report calls for better public awareness to help remove the stigma associated with the disease and create better understanding of the disease. A survey by the European Liver Patients Association found that just 20% of those diagnosed had heard of hepatitis B or C before being diagnosed.
The report also recommends effective disease surveillance to gain an accurate picture of the problem and ensure effective policies can be developed. According to the EIU, 16 countries in the EU alone have epidemiological data on hepatitis C that is either poor or non-existent.
Charles Gore, President of the World Hepatitis Alliance said: “The report highlights that worldwide, despite the significant burden of HCV, governments have failed to get a grip on the scale and impact of the disease. In both developed and developing countries, the true human and economic cost of HCV will continue to rise unless policy makers confront this urgent public health issue now.”
An estimated 150 million people worldwide are currently living with hepatitis C.
The full report can be viewed here.
Photo by Victor Bezrukov