EU Should Better Prevent Citizens From Hepatitis, Says Liver Patients Organisation ELPA
BRUSSELS, July 28, 2013 /PRNewswire/ –
There are still startling differences in hepatitis prevention and access to treatment
across the different EU Member States. Almost one year after the publication of the Euro
Hepatitis Care Index by the European Liver Patients Association (ELPA), the situation has
not improved much. “Even the EU Member States ranking high on the Index do not perform
consistently well, but rather on specific aspects and are lagging behind on others”, says
Tatjana Reic, President of ELPA on the occasion of World Hepatitis Day (WHD) on 28 July.
Germany for example is strong in prevention and medical treatment but lags behind in
early detection. Most startling remains the overall inadequacy in governmental actions on
holistic strategic level. These and more detailed findings about the situation in the EU
Member States, Switzerland and Norway can be found in the “Euro Hepatitis Care Index
[http://www.hep-index.eu ]“, conducted by ELPA and the Swedish think tank Health Consumer
“Encouraging Member States to develop national hepatitis plans addressing the alarming
differences in prevention, detection and access to treatment of viral hepatitis is an
important step forward,” says Mrs Reic.
Founded in 2004, today ELPA represents 30 liver patients’ organisations from 24
countries and participates in the campaign to promote the WHD annually. Coinciding with
this year’s celebrations, the World Health Organization (WHO) will announce the Viral
Hepatitis: Global Policy Report. The Report shows government policies of each World Health
Organization Member State on viral hepatitis.
“The efforts and dedication of the WHO to raise the awareness of viral hepatitis and
address the issues is applaudable. As a patient organization we at ELPA fully support this
initiative and will continue our fruitful collaboration with the WHO by complimenting the
Report and sharing the patients’ perspective”, says Mrs Reic.
Hepatitis means inflammation of the liver, most commonly caused by a viral infection.
Across Europe, 23 million citizens are infected with the hepatitis virus, with many new
infections annually and 125,000 fatal casualties due to hepatitis-related diseases
annually, a figure that is increasing. The WHO estimates that two billion people worldwide
have been infected with the hepatitis B virus, about 150 million people suffer from a
chronic hepatitis C and more than 350 million have chronic liver infections. Without
treatment, both types can lead to cirrhosis and cancer and can cause serious secondary
damages such as cardio vascular diseases or diabetes.
SOURCE European Liver Patients Association (ELPA)