World Hepatitis Day
World Hepatitis day is observed every year on July 28th with the sole purpose of increasing awareness among people of viral hepatitis. The day marks the birth anniversary of Dr Baruch Blumberg who discovered Hepatitis B virus in the year 1967 and further went on to develop the first Hepatitis B vaccine 2 years after that. It is on the basis of these achievements that he won the Nobel prize in physiology and medicine in the year 1976. Health and social organizations around the world, including Accord Superspeciality Hospital, commemorate this day to raise awareness among the general masses about the viral hepatitis that affects more than 354 million people worldwide. The day creates an opportunity for all to educate people about the related infections, efforts made to combat the same and how to prevent getting infected.
What is Viral hepatitis?
Viral hepatitis refers to a group of infectious diseases comprising of hepatitis A, B, C, D and E. These diseases affect millions of people all around the world causing both long term chronic liver ailments as well as short term acute liver diseases. Not only this, they are the cause of more than one million deaths every year with the number increasing day by day.
Theme of the Year
The theme of this year’s World Hepatitis Day is “Hepatitis Can’t Wait”. Not only the seriousness but the theme itself conveys the urgency of the matter. With a patient dying every 30 seconds from an illness related to viral hepatitis, efforts need to sped up for eliminating hepatitis as a public threat by 2030. It also demonstrates the importance of getting tested and getting the right treatment for the people who need it. The underlying importance of the theme can be understood in the following words:
- Can’t wait for the policymakers to act so as to make hepatitis elimination a reality
- Can’t Wait for the community organisations to take more interest in this infectious disease
- Can’t wait to end the stigma and discrimination incurred by the hepatitis affected people
- Can’t Wait for the new babies to get their birth dose vaccination
- Can’t Wait for every expectant mother to undergo hepatitis screening
- Can’t wait to give life saving treatments to the affected people
- Can’t wait for the unaware infected people to get tested
The campaign aims to amplify the voices of the people affected from this disease so as to call for an immediate action and end the discrimination and stigma associated with the disease. In addition to this, it also highlights the inequity and social injustice caused due to the lack of adequate elimination efforts. Today when Covid 19 is wreaking havoc with healthcare systems all around the world, the importance of acting on viral hepatitis cannot be undermined. It is the aim of this day to bring all the stakeholders, policymakers, communities and national leaders on one platform to brainstorm ideas that can help in eliminating this infection.