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“It's time for action – Hepatitis C can be eliminated”

“It's time for action – Hepatitis C can be eliminated”

Yesterday, on World Hepatitis Day, a broad range of clinicians, nurses, healthcare workers, service providers, and patient advocacy groups agreed on a Consensus Statement which includes targets to reduce the impact of Hepatitis C in New Zealand.

The Consensus outlines a framework of integrated goals to address Hepatitis C, which affects more than 50,000 Kiwis.[1] Every year, a thousand Kiwis become infected1, and the first agreed target is to halve this rate by enhancing awareness and prevention strategies.

Leading Hepatitis C authority, Associate Professor Catherine Stedman, who Chaired the Workshop that developed the Consensus Statement, says that recent advances in treatments, diagnostic technologies and methods for assessing the stage of disease mean that New Zealand now has the potential opportunity to eliminate Hepatitis C.

Dr Stedman adds that the World Health Organization has challenged member states, including New Zealand, to take action to address Hepatitis C.[2]

“This disease is causing a ‘silent epidemic’ in New Zealand. Many people are not tested until they develop serious consequences, and Hepatitis C is now New Zealand’s leading indication for liver transplantation.[3] We need to work together to make sure people are aware of this virus and take actions to prevent, diagnose, and treat it successfully.”

“There is no vaccine that protects against Hepatitis C so prevention, diagnosis and access to effective treatments are key. The Consensus Statement sets out our goals for Hepatitis C in partnership with a range of interlinked services,” she said.

The Hepatitis C Summit was hosted on Tuesday 28 July 2015 at Te Papa by biopharmaceutical company AbbVie.


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