Jeffrey V. Lazarus 2 Sep 2015
Delegates representing hepatitis patient groups from around the world couldn’t be happier to gather in Glasgow.
Simon Williams Photography, Edinburgh
As I watched the opening session of the first-ever World Hepatitis Summit on 2 September 2015, I found myself wondering with no small degree of awe: How does it feel to be making history?
A bit later, when I came across this photograph on the World Hepatitis Alliance’s Facebook page, I realized that it probably feels exhilarating. Look at those smiles. How often do people destined for three days of sitting under fluorescent lights in soulless conference halls seem so delighted to be there?
A bit of background, for those readers who are not up on the World Hepatitis Summit. This event is taking place in Glasgow, Scotland on 2–4 September 2015. It is remarkable for bringing together four key sets of actors in the global response to viral hepatitis: patient groups, national governments, the World Health Organization (WHO) and the pharmaceutical industry.
After the dust has settled on the 2015 World Hepatitis Summit, I have no doubt that it will be remembered as a major milestone in the global movement to end viral hepatitis.
That’s right, representatives of all of these entities are gathering in one place for a series of discussions that can be expected to have a defining effect on how viral hepatitis is addressed by the global community going forward. After the dust has settled on the 2015 World Hepatitis Summit, I have no doubt that it will be remembered as a major milestone in the global movement to end viral hepatitis.
What further distinguishes this event is its patient-driven nature. The World Hepatitis Summit was co-organized by the World Hepatitis Alliance, WHO and the Scottish Government. WHO and the Scottish Government deserve high praise for stepping up to help make the Summit happen, but it is the contributions of the Alliance that set this event apart from other strategic gatherings in the field of hepatitis – and perhaps in the health sector overall.