Who we are
The Global Hepatitis Programme is WHO's dedicated unit for responding to the viral hepatitis epidemic. The unit sits within the Department of HIV/AIDS and works to spearhead evidence-based, normative policy support to Member States in the scale-up of hepatitis treatment, care and prevention services. It aims to ensure a comprehensive and sustainable response to viral hepatitis with particular focus on low- and middle-income countries.
What we do
The Global Hepatitis Programme provides evidence-based, normative and policy support to Member States in scaling up hepatitis treatment, care and prevention services to enable a comprehensive and sustainable response to viral hepatitis in developing countries.
Where we work
The Global Hepatitis Programme is located in WHO headquarters in Geneva, working in close cooperation with other departments. It also coordinates WHO's hepatitis activities conducted through units at regional and country offices. All of WHO's six regional advisers for HIV cover hepatitis work.
Our guiding policies and strategies
About viral hepatitis
Viral hepatitis is an inflammation of the liver caused by viral infection. There are five types of viral hepatitis, and hepatitis B and C cause chronic, life-long infection which eventually leads to liver cirrhosis and cancer.
Global health problem
Worldwide, 257 million people live with chronic hepatitis B infection, and 71 million people live with chronic hepatitis C infection. Sources of infection for these two viruses include unsafe blood transfusions and the re-use of contaminated injection equipment in medical settings and among injection drug users. The virus can also be transmitted sexually and from mother to child.
Hepatitis killed 1.34 million deaths in 2015
Viral hepatitis deaths are comparable with TB deaths and exceeding deaths from HIV. Hepatitis deaths are increasing.
Most deaths can be averted
Hepatitis B vaccine costs only US $0.20 per dose and should be made available to all children, starting at birth. Antiviral medicines can control chronic hepatitis B in the long term, and there is a new curative treatment for hepatitis C.
Investing in health systems
WHO provides technical assistance to help countries translate its guidelines into policies and programmes, from immunization to antiviral therapy, from screening the blood supply to ensuring safe health-care practices.