A new report by the World Health Organization (WHO) shows that the number of people receiving hepatitis C virus (HCV) treatment around the world increased from around 1 million people in 2015 to 1.5 million in 2016. However, global health officials are still urging nations to scale up their fight against the virus and say global access to cures remains uneven, according to a recent WHO press release.

The report, titled “Progress Report on Access to Hepatitis C Treatment: Focus on Overcoming Barriers in Low- and Middle-Income Countries,” reviews the progress made in ramping up access to treatment in 23 such countries around the world. The update shows that Egypt and Pakistan accounted for about half of people who started hep C treatment in 2016. Australia, Brazil, China, France, Georgia, Mongolia, Morocco, Rwanda and Spain have also made progress against the global epidemic. 

The WHO report also provides information from innovator and generic drug manufacturers and multiple health organizations working in the field of hepatitis. It underlines the importance of government leadership around the world in scaling up hepatitis C treatment and argues that more countries need to procure generic cures to treat their populations by its 2030 target to eliminate hepatitis worldwide.

The study also calls for a major scale-up of hep C treatment around the world, especially in low- and middle-income nations, which account for nearly 38 percent of all people with a chronic hepatitis C infection. It is currently estimated that 71 million people worldwide are currently living with hepatitis C—and all need treatment.