The Auckland Statement aims to focus attention on viral hepatitis as an urgent health concern that needs immediate action to prevent new infections and stop the rising death toll from cirrhosis and liver cancer.
Every day 50 Australians and New Zealanders are diagnosed with chronic viral hepatitis but less than five per cent actually receive treatment, and many remain undiagnosed. Chronic hepatitis progressing to liver cancer is one of the fastest growing causes of cancer death in Australia and New Zealand. It is predicted that liver cancer deaths could treble by 2030 if no action is taken.
These startling statistics have prompted action by the medical and research communities, with the release of the ‘Auckland Statement’ at the 8th Australasian Viral Hepatitis Conference held in New Zealand last month.
“The statement is calling for urgent action to curb avoidable deaths caused by viral hepatitis by reducing new infections and getting more people on treatment,” says Professor Margaret Hellard, Chair of CREIDU and Head of the Centre for Population Health at the Burnet Institute. CREIDU collaborators the Burnet Institute and the Kirby Institute are both supporters of the Aukland Statement.
The ‘Auckland Statement’ calls for policy makers and the medical community to commit to new targets – including five per cent of hepatitis C and 10 per cent of hepatitis B patients receiving treatment annually by 2016– double the current rates. Leading virologists, clinicians and community groups who attended the Conference are also supporting the key goal to halve the rate of new hepatitis C infections by 2016 by doubling the amount of new injecting equipment distributed in the general community and implementing needle syringe programs in prisons.
We have the capacity, knowledge and tools to tackle viral hepatitis head-on, and the time for action is now.
Visit the The Auckland Statement website for more information and to show your support. The goal is to attract 2000 signatures so spread the word!
“The statement is calling for urgent action to curb avoidable deaths caused by viral hepatitis by reducing new infections and getting more people on treatment.”Professor Margaret Hellard