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Hepatitis – a burden to society
Hepatitis B and C are among the most serious infectious disease challenges impacting individuals, families and society today. Both viral hepatitis B and C are the leading cause of chronic liver disease in the world (1). This is of particular importance in Africa where a fifth of the population are chronic hepatitis carriers and liver cancer is the leading cause of death from cancer in men. Commonly striking men in the 30-45 age group and with virtually 100 percent mortality, the economic impact of liver cancer and thus hepatitis is enormous (2) (3).
Despite the health and economic impact of viral hepatitis, hepatitis B and C remain under-diagnosed and under-reported in Africa. Unlike HIV, which has had enormous resources expended for its management, funds for battling hepatitis infection are limited and lack community advocacy and awareness. As grass roots support is missing, populations most affected by hepatitis B and C, which are typically hard to reach and disenfranchised, don't receive needed services.
Experts across Africa join forces to battle hepatitis
In order to meet these and other challenges, the IPLH has initiated the “Consensus De Dakar”. This second IPLH meeting leveraged on the ground experience gained since the first Dakar meeting in 2011. In order to increase the impact of these efforts across the African continent, IPLH has joined hands with the Focus Scientific Research Center (FSRC), a physician-led team of researchers and MSD, a global healthcare leader, who have sparked an initiative to create awareness about hepatitis in the English speaking countries of Africa. This initiative called “Hepatitis in Africa - Call for Action” was launched in Lagos, Nigeria on June 18 with the intention of raising disease awareness among the relevant stakeholders in the region.
Prof. Aminata Sall Diallo, executive director of “Le Programme National de Lutte contre les Hépatites” (PNLH) and Coordinator of IPLH stated: “By developing strategies for data harmonisation, shared resources, and by bringing together research expertise across all of Africa, we can effectively assess the burden of hepatitis B and C, learn more about the risk factors and improve efforts in diagnosis, management and prevention. The event in Dakar will set the roadmap to action against hepatitis with the involvement of local, regional and international stakeholders.”
Henrik Secher, managing director and vice president, MSD Africa, added: “We support the efforts of governments and healthcare professionals in Africa to prevent transmission and improve detection of hepatitis. MSD's engagement in this initiative is part of our commitment to discover, develop and deliver medicines to help prevent and treat viral hepatitis.”
Distributed by the African Press Organization on behalf of Merck Sharp & Dohme Corp., a subsidiary of Merck & Co., Inc.
Name: Dr Anouar Ben Younes
Market Access Director Africa, MSD
Email: [email protected]
Phone number: T: +41 58 618 2408; M: +41 79 193 1998
1. Mohd Hanafiah K, Groeger J, Flaxman AD, Wiersma ST. Global epidemiology of hepatitis C virus infection: new estimates of age-specific antibody to HCV seroprevalence. Hepatology. 2013 Apr;57(4):1333-42. doi: 10.1002/hep.26141. Epub 2013 Feb 4. AND Mercy Jelagat Karoney, Abraham Mosigisi Siika. Hepatitis C virus (HCV) infection in Africa: a review. The Pan African Medical Journal. 2013;14:44
2. GLOBOCAN Cancer Fact Sheet. GLOBOCAN 2008, International Agency for Research on Cancer. Available at: http://globocan.iarc.fr/factsheets/cancers/liver.asp. Accessed on: 16th June 2013.
3. Jemal, A., Bray, F., Forman, D., O'Brien, M., Ferlay, J., Center, M. and Parkin, D. M. (2012), Cancer burden in Africa and opportunities for prevention. Cancer, 118: 4372–4384. doi: 10.1002/cncr.27410
The IPLH was created after the Dakar Declaration on hepatitis (July 2011). This african initiative is independent and brings together volunteers from twenty African countries, as well as European volunteer experts, who act collectively to give more visibility to their actions in each country and to improve practices in the fight against hepatitis. The IPLH approach is based on empowerment (capacity of African stakeholders to develop their own strategies), inclusiveness (involving the Ministries of Health, health professionals, civil society), the holistic vision (take into account all aspects of hepatitis, and have a global vision of health problems in Africa).
Focus Scientific Research Center (FSRC) of phamax AG is a physician led group of researchers who believe that healthcare issues in high growth economies can only be effectively solved through a combined effort between private, public and academic sectors. phamax AG has headquarters in Switzerland and offices in Bangalore, India and Singapore.
Today's MSD (http://www.msd.com), known as Merck in the United States and Canada, is a global healthcare leader working to help the world be well. MSD is a trade name used outside North America of Merck & Co., Inc., with headquarters in Whitehouse Station, N.J., U.S.A. Through our prescription medicines, vaccines, biologic therapies, and consumer care and animal health products, we work with customers and operate in more than 140 countries to deliver innovative health solutions. We also demonstrate our commitment to increasing access to healthcare through far-reaching policies, programs and partnerships. For more information, visit http://www.msd.com and connect with us on Twitter, Facebook and YouTube.