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Experts to Convene in Dakar to discuss the burden of hepatitis B and C in Africa

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On January 19-20, 2016, leading African and international public health experts, patient representatives, policymakers and physicians will convene in Dakar, Senegal, to discuss and better understand the burden of hepatitis B and C in Africa.

African countries have some of the highest rates of chronic viral hepatitis in the world – it is estimated that more than 30 million people in the Africa region are living with hepatitis C alone. Awareness of viral hepatitis is low, and access to screening and treatment is currently limited in most countries.

The African Viral Hepatitis Summit 2016, sponsored by Gilead Sciences, will provide a forum to discuss the latest in viral hepatitis B and C research, including surveillance, prevention, treatment, service delivery and policy issues.

“The hepatitis B or C epidemics continue to grow across the continent, and are becoming a serious public health issue,” said summit co-chair Danjuma Adda, World Hepatitis Alliance Executive Board Member for the African Region. “This summit is very timely and will benefit all those working to establish a public health approach to preventing and treating these diseases.”

“This summit presents a rare opportunity for a broad range of groups to share perspectives on this significant public health problem,” said Souleymane Mboup, summit co-chair and Professor at the University of Cheikh Anta Diop in Dakar.“Sharing research, policy and programmatic insights from across Africa will be enormously helpful to those on the ground working to help people living with or at risk for viral hepatitis.”

Viral hepatitis is inflammation of the liver caused by a virus. There are five different hepatitis viruses – hepatitis A, B, C, D and E. All of these viruses cause short term, or acute infection. The hepatitis B and C viruses can cause long-term infection, called chronic hepatitis, which may lead to life-threatening complications such as cirrhosis (liver scarring), liver failure and liver cancer.

The African Viral Hepatitis Summit has been organized and funded by Gilead Sciences Inc.

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