Resolution WHA67.6. Hepatitis

Noting that hepatitis B virus, and particularly hepatitis C virus, disproportionally impact people who inject drugs, and that of the 16 million people who inject drugs around the world, an estimated 10 million are living with hepatitis C virus infection and 1.2 million are living with hepatitis B virus infection
  • Harm reduction

Recalling United Nations General Assembly resolution 65/277 paragraph 59(h) which recommends “giving consideration, as appropriate, to implementing and expanding risk- and harm- reduction programmes, taking into account the WHO, UNODC, UNAIDS Technical Guide for Countries to Set Targets for Universal Access to HIV Prevention, Treatment and Care for Injecting Drug Users in accordance with national legislation” as important components of both hepatitis B and hepatitis C prevention, diagnosis and treatment programmes and that access to these remain limited or absent in many countries that have a high burden of infection with hepatitis B virus and hepatitis C virus
  • Harm reduction

1. URGES Member States

(14) to implement comprehensive hepatitis prevention, diagnosis and treatment programmes for people who inject drugs, including the nine core interventions as appropriate, in line with the WHO, UNODC, UNAIDS technical guide for countries to set targets for universal access to HIV prevention, treatment and care for injecting drug users and in line with the global health sector strategy on HIV/AIDS, 2011–2015, and the United Nations General Assembly resolution 65/277, taking into account the domestic context, legislation and jurisdictional responsibilities

  • Harm reduction

3. REQUESTS the Director-General:

(5) to work with national authorities, upon their request, to promote comprehensive and equitable access to prevention, diagnosis and treatment of viral hepatitis, with particular attention to needle and syringe programmes and opioid substitution therapy or other evidence- based treatments for people who inject drugs, in national plans, taking into consideration national policy context and procedures and to support countries, upon request, to implement these measures

  • Harm reduction

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This is the first resolution of the World Health Assembly on viral hepatitis. It includes robust support for the technical guide on HIV and injecting drug use, and adopts General Assembly language on ‘risk and harm reduction’ though similarly weakened by the phrase ‘in accordance with national legislation’ which provides a get-out clause for states criminalising certain commodities or OST. (Preamble and 1.14)

It also provides a clear mandate for the WHO to continue to work on these issues (2.5)