Despite the fact that harm reduction services and ideas are always started by people who use drugs, they are not always included in the design and delivery of these programs as they become more formalized, especially in healthcare settings and for medical issues related to drug use.
Canada’s overdose crisis continues to grow, claiming nearly 4,000 lives last year alone. In the midst of this emergency, more than 1,000 frontline workers converged in Edmonton last month for Stimulus 2018, Canada’s first national conference on harm reduction and drug policy.
The Canadian Network on Hepatitis C (CanHepC) is leading a national effort to develop a consensus blueprint to meet the World Health Organization’s hepatitis C elimination targets by 2030. The goal of the blueprint is to guide various stakeholders with specific and measurable objectives on how to address hepatitis C in different Canadian contexts. I’m excited for the initial draft of the blueprint, coming out this fall, as it will greatly impact my work.
Canada is one of 194 countries that endorsed the World Health Organization’s Global Health Sector Strategy on Viral Hepatitis in 2016, committing to – among other things – the elimination of viral hepatitis as a major public health threat by 2030.
But what does eliminating viral hepatitis mean in practice? The recent Global Hepatitis Summit in Toronto from June 14 to 17, 2018, brought together researchers, healthcare providers, and public health practitioners from around the world to try to answer this question. Presenters shared the latest research findings, marked which countries are on track to meet the targets, and discussed what is needed in the rest of the world to get to elimination.
As deaths from many communicable diseases continue to decline globally, deaths caused by viral hepatitis have now surpassed all other chronic infectious diseases, including HIV/AIDS, malaria and tuberculosis. Yet it is one of the few global health threats with easy solutions. Highly effective vaccines exist for hepatitis A and B. We now have a cure for hepatitis C. With these tools at our disposal, why aren’t we seeing an impact on the epidemic?
The CATIE Blog hosts the views and opinions of people and organizations working and volunteering in Canada’s response to HIV and hepatitis C.