MEP Cyrus Engerer
Co-Chair, MEP Friends of the Liver Group
The MEP Friends of the Liver Interest group in the European Parliament is calling on EU Member States to make greater efforts collectively to achieve the elimination of viral hepatitis B and C as a public health threat by 2030, a timeline which has just been confirmed the World Health Assembly.
The COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted the need for greater cooperation in health and prompted the call for a European Health Union. Unlike for COVID-19, we know exactly what to do to fight viral hepatitis. An effective vaccine and treatment for hepatitis B exist. For viral hepatitis C, there is a cure.
This collection of inspiring stories from across Europe and the world prove that it can be done if people put their hearts and minds to it.
We call on decision-makers across the EU to make use of EU4Health funding support to put an end to viral hepatitis – be that in the context of the Joint Action on cancer prevention, or through programmes to improve diagnosis and linkage to care for specific risk groups, or to improve national data collection on viral hepatitis B and C along the continuum of care.
We also call on Member States to learn from each other, and to discuss how to emulate good practice. We call on the European Commission to put in place a forum in which such discussions can take place.
We finally call on the European Commission to ensure that in the roll out of the various initiatives of the Cancer Plan, efforts to prevent, diagnose and treat viral hepatitis B and C are included wherever they may fit. Fighting infectious diseases such as viral hepatitis, which according to WHO is a preventable cancer risk factor, remains an underutilised resource to reduce the cancer burden.