The O’Neill Institute for National and Global Health Law at Georgetown University Law Center launched Hep ElimiNATION (www.eliminatehep.org) in January 2022 with consultation from the National Viral Hepatitis Roundtable (NVHR) and the Center for Health Law & Policy Innovation (CHLPI) at Harvard Law School. The project provided a snapshot of select policies and programmatic strategies relevant to building capacity for viral hepatitis elimination across the 50 states, Washington, D.C., and Puerto Rico. This advocacy tool aimed to inform policymakers, public health leaders, and communities about several essential pieces of the elimination puzzle and aimed to catalyze elimination planning efforts in pursuit of the World Health Organization’s goal to eliminate viral hepatitis by 2030.
Hep ElimiNATION has provided a fascinating vantage point to witness states’ progress in developing elimination plans, collaborative networks, and communication and transparency about elimination efforts. Since the project began, 8 jurisdictions have published new hepatitis elimination plans, 3 have released updated plans to their existing ones, and 14 have formed new collaborative groups.
It has been powerful to learn from and work alongside dedicated advocates, clinicians, government staff, and people with lived experience working tirelessly to care for their communities. Despite these significant efforts, numerous challenges have persisted across jurisdictions, including limited funding, bottlenecks in data and surveillance infrastructure, and residual policy constraints on syringe service programs and other harm reduction efforts. We must confront these barriers head-on if we hope to continue making progress moving forward.
In the absence of robust data, assessing viral hepatitis elimination capacity is a tall order. For example, it’s difficult to correlate qualitative indicators about policies and programs with quantitative measures in progress towards elimination – like rates of treatment initiation or reductions in incidence of new infections. Additionally, an assessment that uses publicly available information can fail to capture the breadth of elimination planning and programs. We encourage future efforts to explore methodological approaches that facilitate more dynamic modeling of the impact of various elimination strategies on core outcomes and health equity.
This summer marks the last chapter of Hep ElimiNATION. While the eliminatehep.org domain will soon be retired, a final report and four new elimination planning modules will be available on the O’Neill Institute’s website in the coming months. We’d like to express our gratitude to all who came along for this ride. Your time and contributions have been invaluable! We look forward to continuing to partner with you as our viral hepatitis elimination pursuit continues. If you have any questions, please reach out to Sonia Canzater, Senior Project Director, at the O’Neill Institute: email@example.com.