B3: Quality improvement in infectious disease control

Thursday 19th September 2019

Fighting against hepatitis B and C from clinical to population fronts: Lessons from Taiwan

Hepatitis B virus (HBV) infection caused a huge disease burden on Taiwan. In the early 1980s, 3 of 18 million people were chronically infected. This resulted in a large number of people who died of HBV-induced liver diseases, such as liver cancer and cirrhosis. The government started a national control program in the early 1980s which included a mass hepatitis vaccination program in newborns, launched in 1984. The results were successful in that chronic HBV infection decreased more than 90%, so did HBV-related diseases. In addition, the treatment of chronic hepatitis B was reimbursed by the National Health Insurance in 2003 with a subsequent decrease of the mortality caused by liver cancer and cirrhosis. For hepatitis C, which is second only to HBV in causing liver disease in Taiwan, treatment of chronic hepatitis C was also initiated since 2003. Most importantly, direct-acting antivirals (DAA) were reimbursed from 2016. In the beginning of 2019, the Taiwan Hepatitis C Policy Guideline 2018-2025 was approved. The implementation will help Taiwan in eliminating hepatitis C in 2025, 5 years earlier than the deadline of 2030 set by WHO in 2016.

After this session, participants will be able to:

  1. Understand the serious disease burden of hepatitis B and C in Taiwan, and how Taiwan fought against.

  2. Learn the results following the implementation of the control program and the positive impacts on the health of the Taiwanese people.

Ding-Shinn Chen, MD, FAASLD, Distinguished Chair Professor, Department of Internal Medicine, National Taiwan University College of Medicine; Taiwan