When we at EASL decided to have a Monothematic Conference on "Liver Disease in Resource-limited Settings", we were mostly thinking about some European countries in the periphery of the EU, some neighboring countries to the East, and some areas in Africa. Since then, this term seems to apply increasingly also to countries within the heart of Europe, exemplified by the recent discussions about financing for the new therapies for hepatitis C in virtually all European nations.
In fact, when we look at all the issues that have not been addressed in many of the major countries also in Western Europe and the funds it would require to engage here, the resources to effectively tackle liver disease and to really make an impact on outcome are limited in all these countries as well.
As economic difficulties continue to persist, we will continue to face economic decisions in healthcare that are not necessary in the best interest of our patients. And we are also facing tough competition not only between health and other areas but also between different sectors within healthcare, where often times economists decide on the questions of where and how to invest funds most efficiently in order to obtain the most cost-effective medicine, again often times not in line with our patients' needs. Since chronic liver diseases are more prevalent in less affluent areas of the world, this poses a big problem for global health and one increasing.
EASL will try to elucidate some of those questions in the upcoming conference in Bucarest, where we tried to bring together experts from different stakeholders involved with battling chronic liver disease, from academia to governmental agencies and NGO's.
Please come and join us at a meeting that will be somewhat different from other EASL Monothematics but that will address important questions for liver health in Europe and beyond.