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World Hepatitis Day 2019
July 28, 2019
World Hepatitis Day (WHD) takes places every year on 28 July bringing the world together under a single theme to raise awareness of the global burden of viral hepatitis and to influence real change.
According to the World Health Organization (WHO), Viral hepatitis B and C affect 325 million people worldwide causing 1.4 million deaths a year. It is the second major killer infectious disease after tuberculosis, and 9 times more people are infected with hepatitis than HIV. Hepatitis is preventable, treatable, and in the case of hepatitis C, curable. However, over 80% of people living with hepatitis are lacking prevention, testing and treatment services.
During World Hepatitis Day 2019 campaign, WHO is urging all countries and partners to promote the theme “Invest in eliminating hepatitis”. The host country for World Hepatitis Day 2019 is Pakistan. The global events will be held in Islamabad, Pakistan on 27-28 July 2019.WHO urges countries to invest in eliminating hepatitis
Additionally, the World Hepatitis Alliance’s (WHA) has launched a global awareness-raising and advocacy campaign entitled ”Find the Missing Millions”, aimed at tackling the main barriers to diagnosis by putting civil society organisations and the affected community at the heart of the solution.
Watch the campaign’s video here:
WHAT IS HEPATITIS?
Hepatitis is an inflammation of the liver, most commonly caused by a viral infection. There are five main hepatitis viruses, referred to as types A, B, C, D and E. These five types are of greatest concern because of the burden of illness and death they cause and the potential for outbreaks and epidemic spread.
5 things you didn’t know about viral hepatitis
- Hepatitis B and C kill more people annually than HIV/AIDS, malaria and TB
- Hepatitis B and C are responsible for 2 out 3 liver cancer deaths
- 300 million people are living with viral hepatitis unaware
- Birthdose vaccine costs as low as 20 cents yet isn’t used in 48% of countries worldwide
- Eliminating hepatitis B and hepatitis C as public health threats by 2030 would prevent approximately 36 million infections and save 10 million lives
Find out more here.
WHAT MAKES VIRAL HEPATITIS A GLOBAL HEALTH PROBLEM?
Chronic hepatitis B and C are life-threatening infectious diseases that cause serious liver damage, cancer, and premature death. More than 300 million people are infected with the hepatitis B virus or the hepatitis C virus.
Hepatitis B and C are silent epidemics, hitting children and marginalized populations the hardest which include people who inject drugs, Indigenous Peoples, prisoners, men who have sex with men, migrants and people living with HIV/AIDs.
Globally, 90% of people living with hepatitis B and 80% living with hepatitis C are unaware they are living with the disease, resulting in the real possibility of developing fatal liver disease or liver cancer at some point in their lives and in some cases, unknowingly transmitting the infection to others.
With the availability of effective vaccines and treatments for hepatitis B and a cure for hepatitis C, the elimination of viral hepatitis is achievable, but greater awareness and understanding of the disease and the risks is a must, as is access to cheaper diagnostics and treatment. In 2015, viral hepatitis was included in the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and in 2016 the world’s first global hepatitis strategy to eliminate the disease was ratified.
Ensuring that no-one is left behind in and that policymakers’ deliver on their commitment will be key to achieving elimination.
More details Viral Hepatitis Self-Assessment tool Get involved in WHD2019 Read the TIF’s Position Paper on Viral Hepatitis C in Thalassaemia