Reducing the neglected burden of viral hepatitis in Africa: strategies for a global approach

J Hepatol. 2015 Feb;62(2):469-76. doi: 10.1016/j.jhep.2014.10.008. Epub 2014 Oct 16.


The burden of liver disease may dramatically increase in the near future in Africa, where screening and access to care and treatment are hampered by inadequate disease surveillance, lack of high-quality tools to assess chronic liver disease, and underestimated needs for human and financial resources. Chronic hepatitis may be considered as silent and neglected killer, fuelled by many years of global inertia from stakeholders and policy makers alike. However, the global battle against viral hepatitis is facing a new era owing to the advent of highly effective drugs, innovative tools for screening and clinical follow-up, and recent signs that governments, advocacy groups and global health organizations are mobilizing to advocate universal access-to-treatment. This review details the barriers to prevention, screening and treatment of viral hepatitis on the African continent, focuses on the urgent need for operational and research programmes, and suggests integrated ways to tackle the global epidemic.

Keywords: Africa; Hepatitis B; Hepatitis C; Screening; Treatment.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Africa / epidemiology
  • Cost of Illness
  • Hepatitis, Viral, Human / economics*
  • Hepatitis, Viral, Human / epidemiology*
  • Humans
  • Morbidity / trends
  • Neglected Diseases*
  • Practice Guidelines as Topic*