World Hepatitis Day 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. In 2020 the theme is ‘Find the Missing Millions’.
Last year, the South African government also acknowledged the day saying that it provides an opportunity to focus on specific actions such as strengthening prevention, screening and control of viral hepatitis and its related diseases, increasing hepatitis B vaccine coverage and integration into national immunisation programmes and coordinating a global response to hepatitis.
Hepatitis viruses A, B, C, D and E can cause acute and chronic infection and inflammation of the liver leading to cirrhosis and liver cancer. These viruses constitute a major global health risk as it kills around 1.45 million people every year. Furthermore, it’s said that an estimated 240 million people are chronically infected with hepatitis B (defined as hepatitis B surface antigen-positive for at least 6 months) while about 2 million hepatitis B and hepatitis C infections occur yearly through unsafe injections.
Eliminate viral hepatitis as a public health threat by 2030
World Hepatitis Day is also one of the World Health Organisation’s (WHO) seven officially mandated global public health days. They made it their mission to eliminate viral hepatitis as a public health threat by 2030. The WHO also reports that the date 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.
Find the ‘missing millions’
It’s said that worldwide, 290 million people are unaware that they are living with hepatitis and without finding the undiagnosed and linking them to care, millions will continue to suffer, and lives will be lost. That’s why the World Hepatitis Alliance is calling on people from across the world to take action and raise awareness to find the ‘missing millions’.
How to get involved:
You can easily get involved with World Hepatitis Day. Here are some simple actions that you could take in less than one minute:
- Sign and share NOhep’s open letter to urge your government to keep its promise to eliminate hepatitis
- Tweet your support of World Hepatitis Day to raise awareness among your followers
- WhatsApp your contacts to tell them about World Hepatitis Day
- Sign up to receive ready-to-share social media posts on World Hepatitis Day
Visit the World Hepatitis Alliance’s website for more ways to get involved.
Help support journalists, the guardians of independent journalism, through our student media initiative that gives a voice to students and their generation! Find out more…