We, the signatories of this declaration, gathered in Brussels on the occasion of the first European Union HCV Policy Summit, on 17 February 2016, are committed to the elimination of hepatitis C in Europe.
- Hepatitis C is a life-threatening disease; it affects millions of people across Europe and has a significant morbidity and premature death burden1;
- Today, scientific breakthroughs give us the unique opportunity to eliminate hepatitis C in Europe, averting a significant toll in terms of deaths and societal and economic costs;
- The specific challenges of hepatitis C require holistic, people-centred, health system-wide approaches to disease awareness, prevention and integrated care, with all stakeholders combining their diverse skills and resources in a unified response.
We share the vision that eliminating hepatitis C in Europe by 20302 will require us to:
1) Make hepatitis C and its elimination in Europe an explicit and adequately resourced public health priority, to be pursued using appropriate means at all levels – through collaboration between individual citizens, civil society organisations, researchers, the private sector, local and national governments, European Union institutions – including the Commission, ECDC, EMCDDA, the WHO Regional Office for Europe and other relevant regional bodies;
2) Ensure that patients, civil society groups and other relevant stakeholders are directly involved in developing and implementing hepatitis C elimination strategies, with existing best practice examples and guidelines serving as the basis for people-centred health system-based strategies that emphasise tailored implementation at the local level;
3) Make the development of integrated care pathways a core component of hepatitis C elimination strategies, taking into account the specific health system barriers and other challenges related to the management of hepatitis C infection;
4) Pay particular attention to the links between hepatitis C and social marginalisation, and for all hepatitis C elimination-related activities to be consistent with fundamental human rights principles including non-discrimination, equality, participation and the right to health;
5) Strengthen efforts to harmonise and improve the surveillance of hepatitis C across the European Union, to inform and evaluate hepatitis C elimination strategies;
6) Introduce a European Hepatitis Awareness Week (the week of World Hepatitis Day) to hold intensive, coordinated awareness-raising and educational activities across Europe;
7) Review progress on achieving the objectives and goals set out in this manifesto on a regular basis and promote the manifesto at all relevant opportunities.