MEP Dr. Cristian-Silviu Busoi
Chair of the European Parliament Committee on Industry, Research and Energy (ITRE) and former Vice-Chair of the Committee on Environment, Public Health and Food Safety (ENVI)
I am encouraged to read this collection of inspirational initiatives from across Europe which demonstrate a true determination to deliver viral hepatitis elimination. They highlight the scale of the challenge society faces in addressing the elimination, but also demonstrate how coordinated action can make a real difference.
These efforts now need to be complemented by supporting policies at an EU level. In 2017 the European Parliament adopted its Resolution on the EU’s Response to HIV/ AIDS, Tuberculosis and Hepatitis C, calling on the European Commission and Member States to develop a comprehensive policy framework to fight these epidemics and deliver on the EU’s commitments to achieve the UN SDGs. The European Commission’s Staff Working Document of 2018 provides a thorough situation analysis of what needs to be done ensure that the WHO goal of eliminating viral hepatitis as a public health threat by 2030 is met. The European Commission’s document highlights:
Based on this analysis, the European Commission needs to adopt a comprehensive EU action plan to eliminate viral hepatitis, HIV/ AIDS and tuberculosis early in the new legislature. Such a plan has to include effective horizontal policies and funding mechanisms across different sectors, both within the EU and beyond. It also needs to spell out the responsibilities that the European Commission and relevant agencies, Member States and stakeholders will have. Given that we only have 10 years left to achieve the WHO target of eliminating hepatitis C by 2030, time is of the essence and we must act now.