According to the WHO's 2013 statistics, about four hundred million people were infected with hepatitis B and C while an estimated 1.45 million deaths was recorded.
According to the WHO's 2013 statistics, about four hundred million people were infected with hepatitis B and C while an estimated 1.45 million deaths were recorded.
The UN health agency has therefore urged individuals to get tested and demand treatment.
“The world has ignored Hepatitis at its peril,” Dr Margaret Chan, Director-General of WHO, said in a statement.
“It is time to mobilise a global response to hepatitis on the scale similar to that generated to fight other communicable diseases like HIV/AIDS and tuberculosis,” she added.
The number of people with Hepatitis B and C is more than ten times the number of individuals infected with HIV, the UN has said.
According to Dr Gottfried Hirnschall, WHO’s Director of the HIV Department and Global Hepatitis Programme, “we need to act now to stop people from dying needlessly from hepatitis.”
Hepatitis B and C are transmitted through contaminated blood, as well as through contaminated needles and syringes in healthcare settings and among people who inject drugs.
The viruses can also be transmitted through unprotected sex and from an infected mother to her newborn child.
So far, 194 governments have adopted the first ever Global Health Sector Strategy on viral hepatitis and agreed to the first-ever global targets including the target to treat 8 million individuals for hepatitis B and C by 2020.
The strategy also aims at reducing the viral hepatitis infections by 90% and the number of deaths by 65% by 2030