David Amess MP urges action to tackle hepatitis
David Amess MP, Co-Chair of the All-Party Parliamentary Hepatology Group, has joined together with The Hepatitis C Trust to give his support for World Hepatitis Day. David urges the Government to take action to tackle viral hepatitis, and calls on anyone who might be at risk to get tested.
As Co-Chair of the All-Party Parliamentary Hepatology Group (APPHG), this year David joined forces with other MPs and experts to launch the APPHG’s Inquiry report into Improving Outcomes in Liver Disease, entitled, ‘Liver Disease: Today’s Complacency, Tomorrow’s Catastrophe’.
David commented: “With the APPHG, I have called for Public Health England, NHS England and the Department of Health to adopt a goal of eliminating hepatitis C within the next 15 years, and have recommended that the UK introduce a universal hepatitis B vaccination, as recommended by the WHO.”
In the UK, despite being a treatable and curable virus, deaths and hospital admissions from hepatitis C are continuing to rise, having almost quadrupled since 1996. Due to low levels of awareness and the virus often being symptomless until liver damage has occurred, hepatitis C is often referred to as a ‘silent’ epidemic. Testing rates are shockingly low, with just 3% of people with hepatitis C receiving treatment each year.
However, with a new generation of treatments with success rates of up to 100% currently being licensed and undergoing NICE approval, there is a real opportunity to eliminate hepatitis C in the UK.
Worldwide, there has been a 50% rise in hepatitis deaths between 1990 and 2010, to the point where hepatitis now kills as many people as AIDS. The World Hepatitis Alliance and World Health Organisation (WHO) have called for greater collaboration between national governments and civil society organisations, to make progress against one of the world’s most neglected public health issues.