Viral hepatitis is estimated to be responsible for 1.45 million deaths annually from liver failure and cancer. The majority of these deaths are now entirely preventable through (HBV) vaccinations and a new breakthrough class of cures for Hepatitis C (HCV).
Despite the fact that the inexpensive HBV vaccine is widely available and inexpensive treatment is possible using AIDS drugs, and even though recent generic licensing agreements are driving down the price of HCV cures, these life-saving interventions are still not yet accessible in many developing countries. For HBV, incomplete vaccination coverage still results in from infected mothers to children during birth and from hospital workers to patients. For HCV, additional non-price barriers include lack of awareness of the scale of HCV prevalence and the absence of robust costed and resourced national scale-up plans and investment cases.
Pharos is using its expertise to assist ministries of finance and health in planning how to invest in hepatitis prevention and treatment. Pharos is providing technical assistance to country governments in cost estimation, assessment of financing strategies and options, and development of strong cases for investment in HBV and HCV treatment based on impact and benefit-cost analysis. By generating detailed estimates of the costs of HBV and HBC prevention and treatment, countries will know how much funding they will need to mobilize to fight chronic hepatitis. Furthermore, Pharos will help advise national ministries of health on the best financing options available to them. Robust investment cases that consider the full range of health, financial, and economic benefits from HBV and HCV elimination will strengthen the health sector’s ability to negotiate increased financial support from national treasuries and other domestic and external funders.
Since mid-2016, Pharos has been working closely with South Africa’s National Department of Health (NDOH) as they develop their national viral Hepatitis prevention and treatment guidelines and 5-year strategic plan. Pharos has created cost and impact models and assisted the NDOH in preparing a Viral Hepatitis Action Plan. Pharos continues to support the decision-making process in securing additional funding for launching a national hepatitis program in South Africa.
Pharos is also currently supporting efforts to scale-up access to hepatitis C treatment in Morocco and Malaysia.
We anticipate that the approaches and products generated — including the costed scale up plans, financing options, and investment cases — can be transferred and adapted to other low- and middle-income countries working to eliminate hepatitis C and control hepatitis B. We thus believe we are well-positioned to influence the conversation in low- and middle-income countries around the attractiveness and affordability of HCV treatment scale up, and stimulate intensified action on the ground.
Team Members Involved: Robert Hecht, Miloud Kaddar, Stephen Resch, Teresa Guthrie, and Lindsey Hiebert.
For more information, contact Lindsey Hiebert at email@example.com.