Thirty-fifth session

WPR/RC35.R14

Viral Hepatitis B as a Public Health Problem

         The Regional Committee,

         Having considered the report of the Regional Director on hepatitis as a public health problem;*

         Concerned at the high prevalence of viral hepatitis B in many countries of the Region and the effects of its long-term sequelae;

         Recognizing that technology for the production of a vaccine effective in preventing the transmission of hepatitis B virus exists in some countries of the Region, as well as sensitive and rapid methods of diagnosis usable at all levels;

         Considering that the cost of both vaccine and reagents could be substantially reduced through the further development of production within the Region;

         Considering also the need to intensify research for the development of new vaccines and diagnostic reagents;

  1. URGES Member States:
    (1) to formulate programmes for the prevention and control of viral hepatitis B and to initiate these programmes in a phased manner;
    (2) to strengthen laboratory capability to ensure that sero-epidemiological surveys of the population are effectively carried out, particular attention being given to such groups as blood donors, pregnant women and persons at high risk of infection;
  2. REQUESTS the Regional Director:
    (1) to stimulate the further development, production and monitoring of safe, effective and low-cost hepatitis B vaccine derived from human plasma and of diagnostic reagents;
    (2) to develop a vaccination scheme, covering the most vulnerable groups such as newborns and using the most appropriate dosage;
    (3) to encourage research on the development of a new hepatitis B vaccine using modern biotechnology, in particular recombinant DNA technology, with a view to its eventual production;
    (4) to continue to strengthen cooperation with Member States in the exchange of information and training of scientists;
    (5) to foster cooperation between countries in the transfer of technology for the production of vaccines and diagnostic reagents;
    (6) to continue in his endeavours to mobilize extrabudgetary resources and to increase the allocation of such resources to the programme for prevention and control of viral hepatitis B.

* WPR/RC35/11

11 September 1984


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