So, what actually is Hepatitis?
Hepatitis refers to an inflammatory condition of the liver. It’s commonly caused by a viral infection, but there are other possible causes of the disease. These include autoimmune hepatitis and hepatitis that occurs as a secondary result of abuse with medications, drugs, toxins, and alcohol. Viral Hepatitis B and C are major health challenges, affecting 325 million people globally. They are root causes of liver cancer, leading to 1.34 million deaths every year.
Unfortunately these chronic infections may not show symptoms for a long period, sometimes years or decades. At least 60% of liver cancer cases are due to late testing and treatment of the viral B and C versions. Low coverage of testing and treatment is the most important gap to be addressed in order to achieve the global elimination goals by 2030.
The WHO will focus on raising awareness through World Hepatitis Day events. WHO events and activities can aim to achieve the following objectives globally, in regions and in countries:
- To support scale-up of prevention, testing, treatment and care services, with specific focus on promoting WHO testing and treatment recommendations;
- To showcase best practices and promote universal health coverage of services; and
- To improve partnerships and funding in the fight against viral hepatitis
Events on the day will engage high-level leaders, advocates and patient representatives from global, regional and national organisations. They will highlight innovative solutions and partnerships needed in scaling up testing and treatment services, as well as celebrating the country’s championing experience in the global hepatitis response. Timely testing and treatment of viral hepatitis B and C can save lives.