OPINION PIECE By: Dr. Benjamin Djoudalbaye, Acting Head, Division of AIDS, TB, Malaria and Other Infectious Diseases, African Union Commission; and Head of Policy and Health Diplomacy at Africa Centers…
Heads of States and Government from African Union Member States Endorse the Cairo Declaration on Viral Hepatitis.
14 February 2020 – Addis Ababa, Ethiopia: The Draft Cairo Declaration on Viral Hepatitis has been endorsed for implementation by Heads of State and Government of the African Union Member States gathered at the just concluded 33rd Ordinary Session of the Assembly held at the AU Headquarters in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. The Declaration was first endorsed by the Ministers of Health of the African Union Member States meeting at the Third Ordinary Session of the Specialized Technical Committee on Health, Population and Drug Control in Cairo, Arab Republic of Egypt convened by the African Union Commission in August 2019.
The adoption of the Declaration places the elimination of Viral Hepatitis as a public health threat by 2030 at the forefront of political leadership and global development priorities. Progress attained will contribute to fulfillment of the African Union Heads of State and Government decision – Assembly/AU/14(XXIII) – to accelerate effective implementation of the Abuja Commitments on AIDS, Tuberculosis, Malaria, Viral Hepatitis and other infectious
diseases. It will, most importantly, ease the disease burden levied on the 71 million people in Africa currently afflicted by Hepatitis.
Hepatitis is preventable, treatable, and in the case of Hepatitis C, curable. However, over 80% of people living with Hepatitis are lacking prevention, testing and treatment services. In addition, only 18 African countries have formulated a National Hepatitis Strategic Plan and of these countries, only 3 country plans are funded. Without targeted strategies to find the undiagnosed and link them to care, millions will continue to suffer, and lives will be lost.
The Declaration calls on governments in Africa to including testing and treatment for Viral Hepatitis to an ambitious Universal Health Coverage package as this will increase resource use by 1%, decrease deaths by 5% and improve healthy life years by 10% leading to direct and indirect economic benefits. The World Health Organisation estimates that an additional funding of US$6 billion per year will be needed in low- and middle-income countries between
2016 and 2030, in order to achieve hepatitis elimination targets. Recognizing this, the Declaration calls for multi-sector partnerships along the demand-supply chain to remove financial barriers and increase access to quality care. It also calls on strong advocacy so that the continent is educated about the Viral Hepatitis prevention and treatment options. The countdown to an Africa that is free of Viral Hepatitis by 2030 continues, leaving no one
For inquiries contact:
Ms. Whitney Mwangi
AIDS Watch Africa – African Union Commission
About AIDS Watch Africa
Website: https://au.int/en/sa/awa and www.aidswatchafrica.net
AIDS Watch Africa (AWA) is a statutory entity of the AU with the specific mandate to lead advocacy, resource
mobilization and accountability efforts to advance a robust African response to end AIDS, TB and malaria by
2030. AWA was created following a special summit of African Heads of State and Government in April 2001 in
Abuja, Nigeria, to address the challenges of HIV/AIDS, TB, malaria and other related infectious diseases.
The AWA Heads of State and Government Action Committee (AWA Action Committee) serves as the primary
structure of AWA. The AU Chairperson serves as the AWA Chairperson. The Secretariat is located within the
AUC Department of Social Affairs, Division of AIDS, TB, Malaria and Other Infectious Diseases.
The overall objective of the AWA Experts Consultative Meeting is to undertake in-depth discussion around
issues impeding the end of AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria as public health threats in Africa. The meeting is
annual and provides a platform to highlight issues that should be tabled to Heads of States and Government in
AU Member States during the successive AU Summit.