Advocacy is an important step in unlocking domestic financing. Funding a robust hepatitis programme to meet the 2030 elimination goals will likely need to incorporate multiple financing options alongside different strategies to reduce costs. Ministries of Health will therefore require buy-in from a number of different actors, in particular the Minister of Finance, and advocacy will be a critical part of delivering this.
However, Ministries of Health do not need to advocate alone. They can instead harness the power of those affected by viral hepatitis and make them partners in the elimination effort. “Civil society has played a lead role in getting viral hepatitis on the global health and development agendas” (WHO, 2016) and now they are perfectly placed to help turn these commitments into action. This is evidenced by WHO’s Country Profile Manuscript on the progress of the hepatitis response, coordinated by Glasgow Caledonian University/Health Protection Scotland, which outlines that countries engaged with civil society are more advanced in developing national plans and, importantly, securing funding.
Meaningful partnerships with civil society throughout the process will ensure that their unique insights are captured and they in turn are equipped with the knowledge to effectively support and enhance advocacy efforts related to financing for hepatitis.
Along with activities such as lobbying to key stakeholders and decision makers, civil society can also fulfill the need for trusted entities that consistently disseminate reliable information. This serves an important function when trying to leverage a larger and more united voice demanding change as they can effectively increase awareness in the wider community.
Where no investment case exists
In countries where no investment case for hepatitis currently exists, advocating for this may be the first step to unlocking financing for a viral hepatitis programme. These advocacy efforts will be enhanced by the below resources.
- The country case studies on this website demonstrate how other countries have gone about this exercise. They provide not just examples of the process but also show the outcomes of the work within those countries.
- The global Investment Case for Hepatitis B and C (World Hepatitis Alliance, 2017) brings together the wider arguments and evidence for investing in hepatitis and shows that the elimination of viral hepatitis is not only possible it is cost-effective, health system strengthening and will help to meet many of the Sustainable Development Goals, including targets to end poverty and reduce inequalities.