Hepatitis B Virus Infection as a Neglected Tropical Disease
O'Hara G., McNaughton A., Maponga T., Jooste P., Ocama P., Chilengi R., Mokaya J., Liyayi M., Wachira T., Gikungi D., Burbridge L., O'Donnell D., Akiror C., Sloan D., Torimiro J., Yindom L-M., Walton R., Andersson M., Marsh K., Newton R., Matthews P.
In this article we set out to represent hepatitis B virus (HBV) infection within the framework proposed by the World Health Organisation (WHO) for neglected tropical diseases. This highlights substantial challenges to the international community, demonstrating that a large burden of HBV morbidity falls upon low and middle-income countries in the tropics, that disease is strongly associated with both poverty and stigma, and that it is under-resourced compared to other comparable public health concerns. We have collated experiences of healthcare workers, researchers and patients from a variety of settings in sub-Saharan Africa to illustrate the real, practical, day-to-day challenges posed by HBV infection. The NTD paradigm can be applied to consider how best the international community directs funding, advocacy, education, manpower and research to tackle these issues. The existing armamentarium of strategies to tackle HBV prevention, diagnosis and treatment could be implemented within existing infrastructure, most notably building HBV resources into the systems that have been developed for HIV. This discussion is crucial to working towards WHO Sustainable Development Goals that aim for elimination of viral hepatitis as a public health problem by 2030.