Global to Local: Finding the Missing Millions to Whole-Person Health

(A report back on the presentation of Dr Michael Ninburg - Global to Local. Finding the Missing Millions to Whole-Person Health)

 

This presentation by Michael Ninburg, the President of the World Hepatitis Alliance, was a fascinating overview of the rise of viral hepatitis to the international stage, and a reminder that all solutions for population wide scale-up of hepatitis B and C treatments must be patient-led and locally driven. 

The World Hepatitis Alliance was formed in 2007 when viral hepatitis did not figure in the priorities of the WHO, with only 1 person in the WHO doing any work around viral hepatitis at the time. It was the WHA who advocated for global political commitment to management of viral hepatitis, which now causes more deaths worldwide than each of HIV, malaria and TB. The WHA created a local community-led 'World Hepatitis Day' which was later taken up by WHO, and through their advocacy put viral hepatitis on the WHO agenda. This was instrumental in having viral hepatitis included in the Sustainable Development Goals, and eventually to the WHO viral hepatitis strategies and programs. Last year they launched a global hepatitis awareness campaign 'Find the Missing Millions', conducted a survey into the barriers to viral hepatitis testing, and are planning to develop community-based projects to help address these barriers. Their commitment to keeping the affected communities and the patient voice at the forefront of any hepatitis program is going to ensure that future hepatitis programs remain relevant and effective. 

 

 

 

 

Author bio: 

Dr Belinda Greenwood-Smith was first involved with hepatitis C management when working in the AOD sector in Victoria in 2004. She is currently working part time as a GP in a remote indigenous community in the NT, and part time as a public health doctor in a sexual health unit that provides a confidential community based hepatitis service in Alice Springs.