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28 Jul 2020

World Hepatitis Day: Funding boost to WHO Collaborating Centre for Viral Hepatitis

A grant of US$225,000 has been awarded to the WHO Collaborating Centre for Viral Hepatitis at the Doherty Institute from The Hepatitis Fund (aka EndHep2030) Fund.

The significant grant, awarded on World Hepatitis Day, will fund the development of a guide to assist countries in collecting, monitoring and evaluating indicators for viral hepatitis.

The Operational Guide intends to empower countries in the Western Pacific and South East Asian regions by giving nations the necessary tools to enable them to collate and analyse strategic information which can be used to guide advocacy, assist in national planning, resource mobilisation and allocation and monitoring and evaluation of programmes.

In the Western Pacific Region alone, 115 million people are living with chronic hepatitis B and 14 million are living with chronic hepatitis C.

Director of the WHO Collaborating Centre for Viral Hepatitis at the Doherty Institute, Professor Benjamin Cowie who heads up the project, said it’s the lessons learned from repeated missions in a range of countries to support national strategy development, laboratory capacity, strategic information and surveillance support that led to the proposal.

“The resources and staffing requirements necessary to help with capacity building in our neighbouring Western Pacific region is substantial, our new guide will hopefully alleviate some of these resource constraints,” Professor Cowie said.

“In addition, it’s an opportunity for these countries to establish individual national action plans that provide solutions for affordable and appropriate care and treatment for people living with viral hepatitis.”

The Operational Guide will bridge WHO recommendations and in-country experiences, spanning high-level global guidance and in-country implementation efforts.

It will be developed by Professor Cowie and his team of leading epidemiologists and public health experts.

It will assist Ministries of Health and their partners and key stakeholders to:

  • Identify appropriate data sources for collection, while also considering crucial issues such as universality, representativeness, diversity and the need for data triangulation; and
  • Harness the existing disparate datasets to report progress towards the globally endorsed indicators and the elimination targets to which they relate.

On announcing the grants Mr. Wangsheng Li, President of The Hepatitis Fund, said hepatitis is the most neglected infectious disease relative to its burden globally.

“The Hepatitis Fund is solely dedicated to supporting viral hepatitis elimination.  The grants are intended to have a sustainable impact, improving health systems and saving lives whilst providing evidence of the opportunity and feasibility to accelerate hepatitis elimination,” he said.

“This funding will enhance countries’ efforts to build effective elimination strategies within the framework of Universal Health Coverage.”