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According to the World Health Organization (WHO) 2024 Global Hepatitis Report, the number of lives lost due to viral hepatitis is increasing. The disease is the second leading infectious cause of death globally -- with 1.3 million deaths per year, the same as tuberculosis, a top infectious killer, second only to COVID-19.

The WHO launched the first consolidated global report on viral hepatitis at the World Hepatitis Summit in Lisbon, Portugal. It’s a call to action for a simplified and equitable public health approach to eliminate viral hepatitis. This is an eminently reachable goal.

More countries are adopting WHO guidelines, developing national plans, and including viral hepatitis services in universal health care packages. Vaccines, rapid diagnostic tests and generic medicines are available at affordable prices, especially in countries like Australia where they are government-subsidised; and local production is making it possible to reach many more people. Affected communities are raising awareness, demanding access and advocating for change.

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