[Ip-health] World Hepatitis Day : Dr Margaret Chan Fung Fu-chun, General Director of the World Health Organization (WHO) is missing!

Act Up-Basel - Press Release actupbasel at gmail.com
Thu Jul 25 08:31:41 PDT 2013

Press release – Act Up-Basel
July the 25th 2013
For immediate release

Dr Margaret Chan Fung Fu-chun, General Director of the World Health
Organization (WHO) is missing!


On the eve of World Hepatitis Day, Act Up-Basel is urging WHO to take
action for access to HCV diagnostics and treatments.

It is estimated that 185 million people across the world have been
infected with hepatitis C virus (HCV). Untreated, HCV can lead to
liver diseases, cirrhosis and other complications, including for
people living with HIV. Despite this alarming situation, the World
Health Organization (WHO) only recently added pegylated interferon
(PEG-IFN), essential in treating and curing HCV, to the WHO Essential
Medicines List (EML) complementary list. The World Health
Organization’s leadership has, been virtually absent in the fight to
address this major public health issue. Guidelines on good practices
and appropriate screening and treatments recommendations have still
not been issued, despite pressure from directly-affected communities
and their advocates worldwide.

WHO’s leadership is particularly needed in a context where two
pharmaceuticals companies (Hoffman La Roche and Merck & Co.) are
enjoying a monopoly on HCV treatment. This treatment, because of the
high prices set by Roche and Merck, particularly in low- and
middle-income countries (LMICs), remains predominantly inaccessible
worldwide. This problem is most acute in countries where there is no
universal health care. In this context of major global pandemic, WHO
guidelines and vocal, tangible leadership to advise LMICs on scaling
up treatment access is urgently needed.

The World Health Organization, which demonstrated appropriate
leadership in fighting the hypothetic H1N1 pandemic, and
Director-General, Dr. Margaret Chan, must now take action to fight a
concrete pandemic, affecting many people in every country across the
globe. Act Up-Basel is calling on the WHO to respond to activists and
experts’ concerns. Act Up-Basel is also calling on communities
worldwide, people affected or/and concerned, to directly write to
their WHO country/regional office.

All the details of WHO offices are available here:
A petition, endorsed by Act Up-Basel as well, is available here in
different languages (English, French, Spanish, Portuguese, Chinese,
Arabic, German, Russian).

Press contact : actupbasel(at)gmail.com

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