Who we are
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. Currently, we are undertaking development of the first global health sector strategy for hepatitis for 2016-2016 to facilitate our work in the post-2015 development context.
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, 240 million people live with chronic hepatitis B infection, and 130-150 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 kills 1.4 million people a year
Viral hepatitis kills as many people as HIV or tuberculosis per year. But while deaths from HIV/AIDS and tuberculosis have dropped in the past 20 years, hepatitis-related deaths have increased by almost 50% during this period.
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.
WHO global strategy
The World Health Organization tracks the hepatitis epidemic worldwide, raises awareness about the disease and provides normative guidance on immunization, testing, treatment and prevention.
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.