Eliminating Viral Hepatitis in Turkey: Achievements and Challenges

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AKARCA U. S., BAYKAM N., GÜNER H. R., GÜNŞAR F., İDİLMAN R., Kaymakoglu S., ...More



After the declaration Global Health Sector Strategy on Viral Hepatitis by the World Health Organization in 2016, the Turkish Government defined a national strategy covering 2018-2023 to reach goals by 2030. Following a participatory decision process and a series of workshops, the strategy was built on eight separate subheadings. Apart from the official Prevention and Control Program, two separate road maps for hepatitis B and C were developed to obtain targets accessible with the cooperation of the Viral Hepatitis Society and the Turkish Association for the Study of the Liver in 2018 and 2020, respectively. Up to 2023, achievements and the current situation of the National Viral Hepatitis Prevention and Control Program and the hepatitis B virus and hepatitis C virus road maps were assessed in detail on June 28th, 2022, by the subject matter experts in Turkey. Besides the officially reported achievement rate (42%) of the Program in 2021, participants mentioned undesirable effects of the coronavirus disease-2019 pandemic, unregulated migration, low levels of professional and public awareness, and barriers to access to anti-viral treatment. Recommendations focused on increasing the efficiency of screening and surveillance by integrating the viral carrier identity of individuals into the national health information system, simplifying the drug supplement and treatment initiation process and insisting on education to raise awareness.