17 December 2021 | Statements

Unitaid launches call for proposals to prevent hepatitis C in the most marginalised and at-risk groups

Geneva – An estimated 58 million people worldwide are infected with hepatitis C, a blood-borne virus that can lead to serious liver disease. This virus, which causes an estimated 300,000 deaths each year, affects people who inject drugs and incarcerated populations at much higher rates.

Unitaid is therefore seeking to fund innovative projects that will expand access to new tools or under-utilised interventions to prevent and treat hepatitis C, with a particular focus on these key groups in low- and middle-income countries.

Significant progress against hepatitis C has been made in recent years; new medicines that can cure the disease are more widely available, prices have become more affordable, and diagnostic tools have improved. But efforts to prevent transmission remain insufficient. COVID-19 has caused further setbacks; according to the World Health Organization, hepatitis services were among the most frequently disrupted as a  result of the pandemic.

“Hepatitis C greatly affects people who are too often overlooked or ignored by traditional health interventions. Building on the previous work done by Unitaid,  we  want to invest in the prevention and treatment of hepatitis C, and  seek to avert transmission using additional, effective and high-impact harm reduction tools and strategies,” said Dr Philippe Duneton, Executive Director of Unitaid.

Globally, despite their proven effectiveness, the availability and use of tools to prevent hepatitis C transmission are low. Without intervention, uptake an availability of effective interventions will remain low and will impede the achievement of hepatitis elimination targets. This will also continue to put populations that are already highly vulnerable and marginalized at risk of infection, liver disease and death.

Unitaid seeks proposals that will:

Engagement with civil society and affected communities is a critical determinant for success.


The deadline to submit a proposal is Thursday 31 March 2022 at 12:00 (noon) CET.

Media contact

For more information and media requests:

Thalia Bayle

Communications officer

Mobile: +41 79 660 56 37

Email: baylet@unitaid.who.int

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