Last week the World Health Organisation commemorated the 400 million people around the world that are affected by viral hepatitis.
Every 28th of July World Hepatitis Day is celebrated to raise awareness and insight policy-makers to increase access to testing and treatment.
Hepatitis is an inflammation of the liver that can serious debilitate quality of life if the virus progresses to fibrosis, cirrhosis or liver cancer. There are 5 main types of viruses: A, B, C, D and E. The most life threatening are B and C as they are the most likely to develop into liver cirrhosis and cancer. Hepatitis B, C, and D are most likely contracted via parenteral contact with body fluids that have been infected. Hepatitis A and E can be caused by simply eating contaminated food or drinking water that isn’t safe.
The objective of this global day is to impulse change and continue to add momentum to all of the work individuals around the world are putting toward the World Health Organisation’s already established global health sector strategy on hepatitis for 2016 to 2021 and ultimately achieve their final goal – eradicate hepatitis.
This year’s campaign is a very simple, digital campaign that quite simply anyone can get involved in. By simply using the #ShowYourFace and uploading a personalise Polaroid explaining why hepatitis is important to you, the WHO hopes to shine light on how relevant this deadly virus is for us all.
1.4 million individuals die each year from hepatitis and that amount of people affected by this virus is 10 times higher than those with HIV. The absolute reality of the catastrophic impact this disease has on our society is undeniable.
According to the World Health Organisation only 1 in 100 people who suffer from this virus are receiving treatment. In fact, an astonishing 95% of those affected aren’t even aware that they are.
The WHO highlights the many ways that we can get involved including:
- Start now: initiate discussions with the focal point and other counterparts in the ministry of health
- Hold an event
- Engage health professionals and national stakeholders
- Engage media
- Organize a public event on hepatitis testing/treatment
- Share the communication materials
- Join the social media campaigns
- Promote WHO’s injection safety campaign
- Use the country profiles to highlight progress and create momentum to “eliminate hepatitis”
For more information on how to get involved visit: www.worldhepatitisday.org