The World Hepatitis Alliance first launched World Hepatitis Day in 2008. Following on, the UN declared official acknowledgement of this occasion in 2010.
The World Hepatitis Alliance, which is also known as WHA, is a patient-led and patient driven non-governmental organization, or otherwise referred to as an NGO. It has over 249 member patient groups from over 80 countries.
The WHA works with country’s administrations, national members and other key partners in order to raise awareness of viral hepatitis and use its influence to effect global change so that a world free from viral hepatitis could be achieved. They provide global leadership in advocacy, awareness-raising and the fight to end its social injustice surrounding viral hepatitis.
World Hepatitis Day, which is also known as WHD, takes places on 28th July every year. It brings the world together under a single theme every year in order to raise awareness of the worldwide affliction of viral hepatitis and to stimulate actual and effective change.
Today is one of the four disease-specific global awareness days, which have officially been endorsed by the World Health Organization. Which is also known as WHO. WHD unites patient governments, administrations, medical authorities, civil society, industry and the overall public to boost the global profile of viral hepatitis.
Viral hepatitis is one of the major causes of death internationally. It’s proven when accounting for 1.34 million deaths per year, which is as many as HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis or malaria put together.
The hepatitis B virus and hepatitis C cause 80% of liver cancer cases in the world.
Viral hepatitis isn’t found in specific locations nor is it amongst one set of people only. It’s an accurately portrayed global epidemic that affects millions of people without them even being aware. 90% of people living with hepatitis B and 80% living with hepatitis C are not aware of their status even in this day and age.
Living without being aware of this virus can lead to a very real possibility of developing fatal liver disease eventually in their lives and in some cases, they can also unknowingly transmit the infection to the people around them.
The availability of effective vaccines and treatments for hepatitis B and a cure for hepatitis C, the elimination of viral hepatitis has become achievable. However, greater awareness and understanding of the disease and the risks is still very much needed; just as much as its access is needed for cheaper diagnostics and treatment.
The inclusion of the hepatitis virus in the Sustainable Development Goals, which are also referred to as SDGs, and the latest adoption of the world’s first ever worldwide hepatitis strategy, is a pivotal moment.
In today’s time, it has become imperative more than ever that a political commitment is compulsory. If urgent action is not taken, deaths will continue to rise and the epidemic will continue to grow without a spot in the near future.
World Hepatitis Day presents an ideal opportunity: an opportunity to join together and raise the profile of viral hepatitis among the public, the world’s media and on the global health agenda.
Every year, World Hepatitis Day follows a theme. The list of themes is as follows:
- 2011: Hepatitis affects everyone, everywhere. Know it. Confront it. Confront her.
- 2012: It’s closer than you think.
- 2013: More must be done to stop this silent killer.
- 2014: Hepatitis: Think Again
- 2015: Prevention of Viral Hepatitis. Act now.
- 2016: Know Hepatitis-Act now.
- 2017: Eliminate Hepatitis.
Eliminate hepatitis is a simple call to action that everyone can easily get behind. Regardless of one’s priorities, these themes can be easily adapted for local use; to achieve elimination, greater awareness, increased diagnosis and key interventions including universal vaccination, blood and injection safety, harm reduction and treatment are all needed.
Every activity that addresses viral hepatitis is a step towards eliminating it.
All over the world, people try in their own ways to help with the climate of hepatitis. Some schools hold debates in order to get students to research about this matter. Various organizations hold events and engage with medical professionals. Mass media also tries to engage the populous of a country by calling doctors to their shows to talk about the effects, symptoms and such on television for the consumption of the masses.
The following countries are supposed to especially use the information to highlight progress and create greater momentum to “eliminate hepatitis.”
- Sierra Leone
- South Africa
On this day, the WHO launches new communication and awareness raising tools, along with educational tools on injection safety. It is very important as it is a key factor in preventing the transmission of hepatitis as well as HIV.
As an individual, you can be part of the campaign which has been launched for this day.
The #ShowYourFace campaign, which goes well with the Eliminate Hepatitis theme, is an opportunity for all those organizations and communities who wish to contribute to the ultimate goal of eliminating hepatitis.
Through the hashtag, this goal feels real, achievable, and something that everyone can help to support. The creative campaign breaks down the idea of elimination, as a word that many people find hard to understand, and connects them to it by highlighting how everyone can help make a difference, today and instantly.
To get involved, use the hashtag of #ShowYourFace and show your support.