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Our Global Voices Posts

Think NoHep this World Hepatitis Day

Posted on by Dr. John W. Ward, Director, Division of Viral Hepatitis

Viral hepatitis – a group of infectious diseases known as hepatitis A, B, C, D, and E – affects hundreds of millions of people worldwide, causing acute and chronic liver disease and killing more than 1.4 million people every year, mostly from hepatitis B and hepatitis C. It is estimated that only 5% of people with chronic hepatitis know of their infection, and less that 1% have access to treatment.” – World Health Organization

Dr. John W. Ward, Director, Division of Viral Hepatitis
Dr. John W. Ward, Director, Division of Viral Hepatitis

CDC’s vision is to eliminate viral hepatitis in the United States and worldwide.  World Hepatitis Day – July 28, 2016 – is an opportunity to highlight the global burden of disease and our efforts to combat viral hepatitis around the world.

Viral hepatitis is the seventh leading cause of death worldwide, and causes more deaths than AIDS, tuberculosis, and even road injuries. After years of inattention, the substantial  global burden of viral hepatitis is beginning to receive much needed attention.  In May of this year, the first Global Health Sector Strategy on viral hepatitis of the World Health Organization  was approved during the 69th World Health Assembly.

This new WHO strategy introduces the first-ever global targets for the elimination of Hepatitis B and Hepatitis C as public health threats. These targets include a 30% reduction in new cases of hepatitis B and hepatitis C, and a 10% reduction in mortality by 2020, and ultimately achieving even greater health impact by 2030.  Key approaches to achieving these targets include:

  • expanding vaccination programs for hepatitis B;
  • preventing mother-to-child transmission of hepatitis B;
  • improving injection, blood, and surgical safety;
  • providing harm reduction services for people who inject drugs; and
  • increasing access to diagnosis and treatment for hepatitis B and hepatitis C.

Many of these approaches are included in CDC’s five-year strategic plan for 2016-2020.  The Strategic Plan is organized around four strategic imperatives, one of which is specific to our international efforts – “Act globally to prevent, detect, and control viral hepatitis.”

As of April 4, 2016, CDC has been redesignated as a Pan American Health Organization/World Health Organization (PAHO/WHO) Collaborating Center for Reference and Research on Viral Hepatitis.  In this capacity, CDC will support implementation of WHO Global Hepatitis Strategy priority activities, working to achieve WHO global hepatitis goals, serve as a reference of laboratory to support priority requests of the WHO Global Hepatitis Program, and provide technical assistance for the development of WHO normative guidance such as viral hepatitis guidelines and policies.

A cornerstone of CDC’s global activities is the the assignment of CDC staff to WHO headquarters to lead the WHO Global Hepatitis Program. This program  provides guidance and technical assistance to viral hepatitis control programs at the global, regional, and national levels. CDC’s global work also involves lending technical assistance to governmental and non-governmental entities as they develop hepatitis-related prevention policies and programs, respond to outbreaks, develop viral hepatitis surveillance, and monitor and evaluate these activities. For these efforts, CDC works with country-specific and global counterparts and partners, including local Ministries of Health and/or National Centers for Disease Control, other U.S. CDC programs, the United States Agency for International Development, the United States Department of State, and the World Health Organization (WHO).

In recent years, CDC has responded to requests for assistance from countries experiencing a high burden of viral hepatitis, including China, Egypt, Georgia, India, Pakistan, and Vietnam. This CDC programmatic assistance to other countries can reduce the burden of disease for travelers and among persons migrating to the United States while identifying best practices in viral hepatitis prevention and control that can serve as models for other countries including the United States. CDC is committed to continue working toward the elimination of viral hepatitis, both domestically and abroad.  The viral hepatitis epidemic has detrimental impact on lives, communities, and health systems around the world.  CDC and our global health partners need to act now in order to to make the elimination of viral hepatitis our next greatest achievement.

To learn more about viral hepatitis, please visit the CDC Viral Hepatitis website.

Posted on by Dr. John W. Ward, Director, Division of Viral HepatitisLeave a commentTags , , ,

INSPIRE: Breaking the Cycle of Violence

INSPIRE: Seven Strategies for Ending Violence Against Children. Implementation and Enforcement of Laws, Norms and values, Safe environments, Parent and caregiver support, Income and economic strengthening, Response and support services, Education and life skills

This blog was originally posted on The Huffington Post on July 13, 2016 As a society, we have unanimity about few things, but one of these is that no child should be harmed by violence. And yet, every 5 minutes a child somewhere in the world dies a violent death, and half of all children in the Read More >

Posted on by Tom Frieden, MD, MPHLeave a commentTags ,

Laboratory Tests in the Fight to Save Sight

Village leaders meet with the field team to discuss the study, Kahe Mpya, Rombo District, Tanzania, June 2012.  Community engagement is critical to successful field studies.

Trachoma, a disease of the eye caused by a bacteria called Chlamydia trachomatis, is the leading infectious cause of blindness worldwide. Repeated infections cause the eyelid to turn inward, at which point the eyelashes scrape and permanently scar the cornea. At one time, trachoma was endemic in parts of Europe and the United States. Trachoma Read More >

Posted on by Diana Martin, PhD (Microbiologist, Division of Parasitic Diseases and Malaria)Leave a comment

Saving Lives with Hand Hygiene in Sierra Leone

Float parade celebrating World Hand Hygiene Day at Pujehun, Sierra Leone

“See what is in your hands“ – Nanah Sesay Kamara, National IPC Coordinator, Sierra Leone Hundreds of millions of patients worldwide are affected by unsafe healthcare each year, and the burden is significantly higher in countries where resources are limited. Hand hygiene is one inexpensive and effective strategy to help ensure safe care. Clean hands Read More >

Posted on by Dr. Benjamin Park, Chief, International Infection Control ProgramLeave a commentTags , , ,

World No Tobacco Day – Tobacco Surveillance in Barangay Looc, Province of Zambales, Philippines; Reflections on GTCB’s Worldwide Impact

Global Adult Tobacco Survey pretest surveillance team, barangay Looc.

As an IT Specialist working for the CDC Foundation and assigned to the Office on Smoking and Health’s Global Tobacco Control Branch (GTCB), I have had the opportunity to travel to many places around the world.  We conduct several surveys and I mainly work with the Global Adult Tobacco Survey (GATS).  I provide technical support Read More >

Posted on by Edward Rainey, IT Specialist and Public Health Analyst with the CDC Foundation, assigned to GTCB.Leave a commentTags , , ,

Vietnam: Increased Surveillance Leads to Detection of Zika Virus

Vietnam EOC gathered for a briefing about the Zika virus.

Vietnam EOC gathered for a briefing about the Zika virus. Along with WHO, CDC experts Anthony Mounts, Trang Do, Michael Johansson, and Leisha Nolen provided consultation during the meeting. CDC Vietnam will enhance surveillance and temperature monitoring at border control areas and alert pregnant women to be aware and report any signs and symptoms. The Read More >

Posted on by Niki Pham, MSc.Leave a commentTags , ,

Vietnam: Empowering Communities to Detect Potential Outbreaks Early

Diseases may start in local communities before they spread and become widespread outbreaks. Vietnam is harnessing the power of community members to identify potential outbreaks earlier to shorten response times and avert epidemics. A parent hears rumors from other parents about several children bitten by a rabid dog. A teacher sees an unusually high number Read More >

Posted on by Niki Pham, MSc.Leave a commentTags , ,

A Ray of Hope for a Better-Prepared Ethiopia

Working alongside an EIS officer and an FETP resident on an investigation in Konso, Ethiopia, 2015.

I have called Ethiopia home for the past five years – it is a country that is very close to my heart. I was moved to humanitarian work by images of the famine when I was in college and subsequently adopted my daughter from here. As we face our worst drought in 50 years, I Read More >

Posted on by Lucy Boulanger, DGHP Program Director, EthiopiaLeave a commentTags ,

When It Was Even Scarier

Dr. Anne Schuchat with her mother Molly G Schuchat

This blog originally appeared on The Huffington Post on April 29, 2016 Four score and seven years ago, my mother was born into an America swarming with pathogens. Many were simply known as diseases of childhood; not all children survived them. My mother remembers how her family suffered when a cousin died during infancy from Read More >

Posted on by Anne Schuchat, MDLeave a commentTags , , , ,

Global Immunization: 50 Years of Work, Humanity, and Success

With her head tilted back, the picture depicts a young Nigerian girl, as she was holding her mouth wide open in order to receive her dose of orally-administered polio vaccine. This activity was taking place during Nigeria’s National - Stop Transmission of Polio Program (N-STOP), which is a refined and specialized offspring of two larger programs that train disease detectives: the (international) STOP program, and the Nigeria Field Epidemiology and Laboratory Training Program. N-STOP is a key element in Nigeria’s effort to rid the country of this crippling disease.

This blog was originally posted on on April 26, 2016. Government is a creature of numbers and statistics, a generator of such vast quantities of data and reports that it’s hard to appreciate sometimes the full human dimension of what it takes to protect everyone from vaccine-preventable diseases. That reality comes to mind as Read More >

Posted on by Rebecca Martin, PhD, Director of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Center for Global HealthLeave a commentTags , , ,