World Hepatitis Day is held
annually on July 28 to promote awareness about hepatitis. World
Hepatitis Day (WHD) is celebrated by people all over the world annually on July
28. The day was selected to mark the birthday of Nobel Laureate Prof Blumberg
who discovered hepatitis B virus (HBV). WHD is a global platform for raising awareness
about hepatitis. Organizations such as the United Nations and the World
Hepatitis Alliance raise campaigns and work with people as well as with health
organizations to promote global awareness about hepatitis.
an inflammation or swelling of the liver. There
are five types of hepatitis viruses: A, B, C, D and E. Types A and E are
responsible for short term or acute infection whereas types B, C and D cause
long term or chronic infection. Hepatitis B, C and D lead to life threatening
complications such liver cirrhosis, liver failure and cancer.
It is estimated that nearly 400
million people suffer from hepatitis B
or C worldwide. As many as 1.4
million people succumb to viral hepatitis every year despite the availability
of resources and drugs to treat this disease. Creating a better understanding
and awareness of prevention and treatment of hepatitis can save nearly 4,000 lives
Hepatitis A is mainly caused by
food and water contamination with fecal matter. Hepatitis B is widely seen in
many Asian and African countries. Hepatitis B and C are transmitted through
blood and body fluids. It is important to also know that vaccines are available
for both hepatitis A and B. Hepatitis C
on the other hand is mainly caused by the sharing of needles or other instruments or
materials such as cotton, spoons etc., which are used to inject drugs. Infected
blood and blood products used for transfusion can also cause hepatitis C.
Most people who suffer from viral
hepatitis are asymptomatic in the initial stages. If undetected, chronic
hepatitis can lead to liver failure.
of World Hepatitis Day
The main objective of WHD is
public awareness and consciousness-raising about this deadly silent killer virus.
- To raise public awareness about various forms of
hepatitis, transmission and awareness of vaccines.
educate people about immunization, early diagnosis, prevention, screening and
various treatment options of hepatitis.
- Increase awareness
about the risk factors for hepatitis and encourage early testing.
people involved through global activities to implement solid steps towards
- To remove the social stigma
associated with hepatitis and promote comprehensive care and treatment of
people suffering from hepatitis.
- To prevent transmission
of the virus by isolation and quick treatment of infected individuals.
involve various health organizations, including healthcare professionals to
help create new ideas and strategies for prevention of hepatitis.
on World Hepatitis Day
Activities on WHD are conducted
at the local and global level to serve as a platform for public health
of the activities arranged on WHD include:
- Free screening, testing and diagnosis of hepatitis.Free
vaccination camps for hepatitis.
shows on hepatitis by health care professionals.
of the causes and effects of the disease by flash mobs.
competitive activities like essay writing, poster preparations, sporting
activities etc., to involve the general public.
awareness through social media websites, newspapers, TV, poster/pamphlet
2015: "Prevention of Viral Hepatitis"
is celebrated in more than 100 countries worldwide. WHD supports affirmative
action to minimize the death toll due to viral hepatitis. The aim of the
campaign is to give viral hepatitis
the priority it deserves by
raising awareness globally.
WHO and the World Hepatitis Alliance are key organizations making every effort
to spread public awareness and prevent viral hepatitis. On WHD 2015, WHO and
its health partners will conduct events globally to focus on the prevention of
hepatitis B and C. Organizations like the Center for Disease Prevention (CDC)
and the Canadian Society for International Health (CSIH) are involved in
various activities on WHD.
is also a significant year for India as ILBS (institute of liver and biliary
sciences), New Delhi is WHO's collaborative partner for viral hepatitis. This
collaboration is much needed as India needs significant focus on preventive
measures for hepatitis B and C. ILBS is poised to focus on prevention of viral
hepatitis especially in the clinical setting through infected needles and
year, the WHO has formulated a set of key messages to mark WHD 2015. The
keyword and main focus is "prevention." The messages include:
- Understand the Risks of Transmission to Prevent Infection - Public
awareness on the risks of infected blood transfusions, infected needles and drug-sharing equipment can play
a major role in preventing the viral infection.
- The Right to Demand Safe Injections
An estimated 2 million people are infected each year due to infected needles.
It is our basic health right to demand sterile, disposable syringes while
As the trusted adage goes, "prevention is better than cure." The availability
of an efficient and safe hepatitis B vaccine can prevent children and adults
from getting infected.
- Early Diagnosis and Treatment - Getting tested early and seeking
treatment is the best way to prevent the secondary complications of viral
hepatitis. According to Dr Dinesh Kini, Director of Digestive and Hepatobiliary
Sciences, Sakra World Hospital, Bangalore, the arrival of breakthrough
treatments for chronic viral hepatitis B and C holds out much hope of better