Every year, July 28 is celebrated as the World Hepatitis Day by the World Health Organisation. The date of 28 July was chosen because it is the birthday of Nobel-prize winning scientist Dr Baruch Blumberg, who discovered hepatitis B virus (HBV) and developed a diagnostic test and vaccine for the virus.
Theme for 2022 - Bringing hepatitis care closer to you
This year’s theme is “Bringing hepatitis care closer to you” highlights the need for bringing hepatitis care closer to the primary health facilities and communities so that people have better access to treatment and care, no matter what type of hepatitis they may have.
World Health Organisation aims to achieve hepatitis elimination by 2030. To get there, WHO calls on countries to achieve specific targets:
- Reduce new infections of hepatitis B and C by 90%;
- Reduce hepatitis related deaths from liver cirrhosis and cancer by 65%;
- Ensure that at least 90% of people with hepatitis B and C virus are diagnosed; and
- At least 80% of those eligible receive appropriate treatment.
- There are five main strains of the hepatitis virus – A, B, C, D and E. Together, hepatitis B,C and D are the most common cause of deaths, with 1 million deaths per year from cirrhosis and liver cancer.
- 94,00,000 people are receiving treatment for chronic hepatitis C virus infection
- 1,100,000 deaths per year caused by hepatitis B and C virus infection
- 10 % of people living with hepatitis B are diagnosed and 22 % of them receive treatment
- 42 % of children, globally, have access to the birth dose of the hepatitis B vaccine
A hepatitis-free future is achievable with a united effort. WHO is calling on all countries to work together to eliminate viral hepatitis as a public health threat by 2030
- Establish high quality hepatitis services : Ensuring everyone has access to hepatitis services that responds to their needs and that are equitable, effective, efficient, timely and of an acceptable quality.
- Locate hepatitis care close to home : Decentralizing hepatitis care to peripheral health facilities, community-based venues and locations beyond hospital sites, brings care nearer to patients’ homes.
- Promote task-sharing : Using non-specialist health workers who are trained in these areas
- Integrate and link hepatitis care with existing public health services : Hepatitis treatment and care can be expanded using primary care as well as HIV, harm reduction services (OSTs and needle exchange programs), as well as prison health services.
- Ensure resilient and equitable health systems : Strong health systems that are adequately funded and equipped can deliver quality hepatitis care to all.
Know hepatitis - Are you at risk?
- Anyone could be at risk of hepatitis due to the size of the global epidemic (at least 10 times the HIV epidemic).
- Hepatitis B and C infections are transmitted through contaminated blood as well as through contaminated needles and syringes in healthcare setting and among people who inject drugs. The viruses can also be transmitted through unsafe sex and from an infected mother to her newborn child.
- With better information and knowledge about hepatitis risks, people can prevent themselves from getting infected and passing the infection on to others. To do this, people should seek testing and learn if they need treatment.
Know hepatitis - Get tested
- Increasing access to hepatitis testing is key to scaling up hepatitis treatment and care.
- An estimated 95% of people with hepatitis are unaware of their infection, in part due to a lack of awareness and lack of access to testing services in countries.
Know hepatitis - Demand treatment
- Globally, most people who need treatment have not been treated, largely due to a lack of awareness, and access to hepatitis treatment services.
- Over 90% of people with hepatitis C can be completely cured of the virus within 3–6 months.
- Appropriate treatment of hepatitis B and C can prevent the development of the major life-threatening complications of chronic liver disease: cirrhosis and liver cancer.
Source : World Health Organisation
- Quiz: How much do you know about hepatitis?
- Hepatitis: fact sheets
- Acute hepatitis of unknown aetiology in children
Last Modified : 8/1/2022
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