a sub-analysis of the WHO 2013 global hepatitis policy survey
BACKGROUND: Unsafe injections, through infectious bodily fluids, are a major route of transmission for hepatitis B and C. Viral hepatitis burden among people who inject drugs is particularly high in many Member States of central and Eastern Europe while national capacity and willingness to address it varies greatly. METHODS: The initial survey included 43 questions covering awareness, data, prevention, and screening and treatment. It was sent in five languages to identified national focal points. This sub-analysis included 11 questions and 53 Member States in the WHO European Region. Descriptive analyses of national activities are presented. As a secondary outcome bivariate analyses of differences between Member States of the European Union (EU) and European Free Trade Association (EFTA) compared to those not in said grouping are presented. RESULTS: Forty-four of the 53 Member States responded to the survey (response rate of 83%). More than three-quarters reported offering publicly-funded treatment for HBV or HCV (82% and 80%, respectively), with a significantly higher proportion of EU/EFTA Member States (P=0.004 and P=0.010, respectively). Half of Member States (53%) reported the existence of a national policy for hepatitis prevention and control; however less than one-third (27%) reported having written national strategies. Under half of the responding Member States reported holding events for World Hepatitis Day 2012. One-fifth reported offering hepatitis B and C testing free of charge, with less than one-third reportedly conducting regular serosurveys among people who inject drugs. CONCLUSIONS: Findings highlight key gaps requiring attention in order to improve national policies and programmes in the region and ensure an adequate response to injection drug use-associated viral hepatitis. Further studies are required to assess quality and impact of national policies and services.
B M C Infectious Diseases, 2014, Vol 14, Issue Suppl 6, p. 1-8