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World Hepatitis Day 2023: When Is It Celebrated? History, Theme And Significance


Methodology

World Hepatitis Day is observed annually on July 28th to raise global awareness of hepatitis, promote prevention and treatment, and mobilize action and support for those affected by viral hepatitis.

This year World Hepatitis Day falls on July 28, 2023. Let’s take a look at the history of this global awareness day and why it is so important.

When Is World Hepatitis Day Celebrated? History

World Hepatitis Day was first established by the World Health Organization (WHO) in 2008 as the first global health day with the aim of increasing understanding about viral hepatitis and getting the world motivated to act against it.

The date of July 28th was chosen because it coincides with the birthday of Nobel-prize-winning scientist Dr. Baruch Blumberg, who discovered the hepatitis B virus in 1967 using a novel diagnostic test he developed. This pivotal discovery paved the way for effective hepatitis B vaccines and treatments.

July 28th was endorsed as World Hepatitis Day at the 63rd World Health Assembly in 2010 when WHO member states voted unanimously to establish this official global awareness event to spur action on hepatitis.

Since then, July 28th is celebrated as World Hepatitis Day every year in more than 100 countries through awareness campaigns, public events, policy shifts, and improved access to prevention, testing, and treatment. It provides an important platform to educate people about hepatitis and influence real change in disease prevention and control.

Theme For World Hepatitis Day 2023

The theme for World Hepatitis Day 2023 is ‘Hepatitis Can’t Wait’. This theme conveys the urgent need to rapidly eliminate viral hepatitis as a public health threat by 2030 in alignment with the WHO’s Global Health Sector Strategy goals.

Some key messages highlighted through this year’s theme include:

 ? Millions are waiting for life-saving testing and treatment – we can’t wait to act on hepatitis

 ? Marginalized groups are waiting for equitable access to services – we must deliver

 ? Children are waiting for a hepatitis-free future – we will make it happen

 ? Advances are waiting to improve testing and care – we will implement them

 ? No one should be left waiting in the fight against hepatitis. The time for action is now!

This theme emphasizes the need to accelerate efforts and investments to eliminate hepatitis through scaled-up prevention, testing, treatment, and care services. Equity and inclusivity are vital.

The theme drives home the point that we cannot wait – comprehensive action must be taken now by all stakeholders to conquer hepatitis.

World Hepatitis

Significance And Facts About Viral Hepatitis

World Hepatitis Day is incredibly important because hepatitis remains a massive global public health burden despite being largely preventable and treatable. Here are some key facts:

  • Viral hepatitis caused 1.1 million deaths in 2019, mostly from cirrhosis and liver cancer. This death toll is on par with HIV/AIDS or tuberculosis.
  • There are 5 main hepatitis viruses – hepatitis A, B, C, D, and E. Hepatitis B and C are most concerning as they cause chronic infections and can be deadly.
  • Over 354 million people worldwide live with hepatitis B or C, yet most don’t know they are infected.
  • A person dies every 30 seconds from hepatitis-related illnesses.
  • Hepatitis B and C together cause 96% of all hepatitis mortality.
  • Hepatitis C has a cure, and hepatitis B can be prevented through vaccination.
  • With the right investments, viral hepatitis could realistically be eliminated by 2030. But current efforts are underfunded and off-track for this target.

World Hepatitis Day promotes awareness of these alarming facts and the need for an urgent public health response.

Key Ways To Observe World Hepatitis Day

There are many ways individuals and organizations can observe World Hepatitis Day and make an impact:

  • Learn the facts about viral hepatitis – its spread, symptoms, and prevention. Share information with others.
  • Get tested for hepatitis B and C if at risk. Encourage those around you to get screened.
  • Advocate to policymakers for greater investments in hepatitis services.
  • Donate to charities working to prevent, diagnose and treat hepatitis globally.
  • Join awareness campaigns and events in your community promoting hepatitis education.
  • Wear purple in solidarity and support of the almost 400 million living with hepatitis worldwide.
  • Share resources and information about hepatitis on social media using #WorldHepDay.
  • Organize screening camps, contests, workshops, or other public events focused on hepatitis.

Conclusion

World Hepatitis Day is an important opportunity to focus the world’s attention on the global burden of viral hepatitis and intensify action toward its elimination by 2030. The WHO-led awareness day has been instrumental in stimulating greater momentum and funding around hepatitis programming over the past decade.

But with more work to be done, this year’s ‘Hepatitis Can’t Wait’ theme is a timely call to move rapidly to prevent new infections, diagnose and treat all cases, and save millions of lives from this preventable disease. Observing World Hepatitis Day helps keep hepatitis high on the global public health agenda.

Dr. Harold Gojiberry is not just your ordinary General Practitioner; he is a compassionate healthcare provider with a deep commitment to patient well-being and a passion for literature. With extensive medical knowledge and experience, Dr. Gojiberry has made a significant impact in the field of healthcare, particularly in the area of liver diseases and viral hepatitis.

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