World Hepatitis Day

Hepatitis B and C affects over 300 million worldwide and has caused about 1.4 million deaths per year. In 2017, 2,850,000 persons were newly infected. The disease infects more than 9 times as much those affected by HIV. Despite Hepatitis being a treatable and preventative illness, over 80% of patients with the disease lack the basic preventative measures, testing and treatment facilities. For these reasons, July 28th marks World Hepatitis Day, an important day to bring much needed awareness to the cause and prevention of this global killer.

World Health Organisation (WHO) recognises the urgency of this cause and thereby encourages organisations, governments, medical industries and professionals to unite in hopes of boosting further knowledge. Special attention will be given to alerting policymakers as well about the matter and this will be done by addressing the following objectives:

Advocating national and regional policymakers to increase financial and political obligations with relation to hepatitis

Encouraging easy access of hepatitis prevention, testing and treatment opportunities for the public.

Alerting policymakers on WHO goals to have hepatitis eliminated globally by 2030.

The World Hepatitis Day 2019 campaign will highlight the theme of “Invest in Eliminating Hepatitis”. This year’s host country will be Pakistan where global events will be held in Islamabad from 27th to 28th July 2019.

During the event, WHO will be releasing new estimates to reflect the investments that are needed to eliminate the infectious disease by 2030 worldwide. For example, in the United States alone, about $6 billion USD is invested annually to also help in achieving global elimination.

As for the public, WHO hopes to use the campaign to direct the following concerns:

Get tested. Early testing can lead to early treatment and can save lives.

Stay protected. Hepatitis B and C are preventable. A simple vaccination for Hepatitis B can provide lifelong protection.

Think Smart and Fast. Living with Hepatitis B or C can be cured if treated without delay.

Ultimately, World Hepatitis Day is a time to take immediate action. WHO continues to encourage all to participate, spread the movement and help save lives.

References:

  1. World Hepatitis Day
  2. World Hepatitis Day 2019, World Hepatitis Alliance
  3. World Hepatitis Day, WHO