On Thursday, 26th September 2019, TB HIV Care was approved as a non-voting member of the World Hepatitis Alliance.
This is part of TB HIV Care’s strategy to broaden its focus to include other major diseases, and viral hepatitis in particular. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), hepatitis B and C cause about 1.3 million deaths per year globally, just less than the 1,6 million caused by TB. However, over 80% of people living with hepatitis lack access to prevention, testing and treatment services.
The World Hepatitis Alliance is a not-for-profit organisation that works with governments, national member organisations and other key partners to raise awareness of viral hepatitis and influence global change. By becoming a member, TB HIV Care raises its international visibility (the World Hepatitis Alliance has an ‘Official Relations’ status with the WHO and ‘Special Consultative Status’ with the United Nations Economic and Social Council.), as well as obtaining access to opportunities to network, attend conferences and capacity-building events and receive support for fundraising and policy work.
TB HIV Care has already begun to contribute towards viral hepatitis work in South Africa. From 2015 to 2018, TB HIV Care led a seven city study (in collaboration with the NCID, UCT, Anova Health Institute, OUT Well-being and funded by the Bristol-Myers Squibb Foundation) to assess the prevalence of viral hepatitis among sex workers, people who use drugs and men who have sex with men, as well as evaluate the feasibility of various diagnostic options.