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Europe's hepatitis challenge: defusing the "viral time bomb".

Piorkowsky, Nadine Y.
J Hepatol; 51(6): 1068-73, 2009 Dec.
Artigo em Inglês | MEDLINE | Out 2009 | ID: mdl-19854528
Resumo: Since its foundation in 2005, the European Liver Patients' Association (ELPA) - a not-for-profit-organisation with 21 members across Europe - has been at the forefront of raising awareness of liver diseases, in particular hepatitis, throughout the EU. In line with the main challenge for hepatitis carriers, which is to "become a patient", ELPA calls for targeted screening of risk groups in order to facilitate early diagnosis and, if appropriate, treatment. To this end, ELPA and its members have embarked on a multi-level lobbying campaign, involving EU and national policymakers, liver specialist associations and public health experts. First successes include the adoption of the European Parliament's Written Declaration on Hepatitis C and the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control's (ECDC) decision to include viral hepatitis in its annual work plan as of 2008, as well as a compilation of expert recommendations on screening, which were endorsed by the European Association for the Study of the Liver (EASL). For a sustainable change in the perception of liver diseases by the public and decision-makers in public health and a subsequent improvement of the situation for patients and specialists, it will be important for both to move beyond the immediate doctor-patient relationship and address jointly a wider audience. Essential in this context is the link to cancer. Policymakers have to know that by taking preventative measures (primary and secondary) against liver disease they prevent liver cancer, one of the few cancers on the rise in Europe.