Taiwan Pledges to be Hepatitis-Free by 2030

Taiwan Pledges to be Hepatitis-Free by 2030
Photo Credit: AP/達志影像

What you need to know

Every year, 13,000 Taiwanese die from liver-related health problems, the majority of them caused by Hepatitis C infection. About 600,000 Taiwanese have Hepatitis C.

Taiwanese NGOs, including the Foundation for Advancing Treatment of Clinical Liver Disease (ACTLD), have joined the World Hepatitis Alliance in an effort to eliminate viral hepatitis by 2030.

World Hepatitis Day is celebrated every year on July 28, and is one of only four official disease-specific world health days. This year’s theme is NOhep. It follows the World Health Assembly in May, where World Health Organization (WHO) member states set goals to eliminate hepatitis as a public health threat for the first time.

The ACTLD is starting small by focusing on Hepatitis C, and working with the Kinmen County Government to implement the “Kinmen Hepatitis C elimination project.”

Tung-Hung Su (蘇東弘), an attending physician at National Taiwan University Hospital, said Kinmen was a good place to start elimination efforts, as the island only has between 50 and 100 patients and has good basic infrastructure already in place. New medication for Hepatitis C is also available.

Hepatitis C infection is the leading cause of cirrhosis and liver cancer. According to data from Taiwan’s Ministry of Health and Welfare, every year 13,000 people die from hepatitis, cirrhosis, and liver cancer in Taiwan. About 600,000 Taiwanese have Hepatitis C.

According to the WHO, Hepatitis C patients can be completely cured within three to six months, but the WHO estimates that 95% of people with hepatitis do not know they are infected.

Globally, 400 million people are affected by viral hepatitis, and up to 10 million people are newly infected every year.

First Editor: Edward White
Second Editor: J. Michael Cole