Elivio stresses the importance of being informed on World Hepatitis Day
Diseases are part of living, but there are the ones that make living a pain, for the patient and the near ones. Hepatitis is one such dreaded disease. Today is the World Hepatitis Day. A day dedicated to fighting a deadly disease that we are all susceptible to. Elivio takes a look at the important points concerning hepatitis, as an effort to help you be on guard. As they say, safe is always better than sorry.
THE WORLD HEPATITIS DAY: A STEP TOWARDS AWARENESS
World Hepatitis Day (WHD) falls on 28 July and lends a platform where the world together pledges to raise awareness of viral hepatitis that has become a global threat. International days are meant to influence real change. epatitis Day is one of four disease-specific global awareness days officially endorsed by the World Health Organization (WHO). The day aims to bring together patient organisations, governments, professionals, civil society, pharmaceutical industry and the general public to combat viral hepatitis.
THE THREAT IS REAL. WE NEED TO BE READY.
Viral hepatitis is a major death factor around the world. It claims 1.34 million lives per year – on par with HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis or malaria. Hepatitis B virus and hepatitis C cause 80% of liver cancer cases worldwide.
Viral hepatitis is a global problem affecting millions, most of whom are blindingly unaware. Even as we speak, 90% of people living with hepatitis B and 80% living with hepatitis C are not aware of their patient status. Developing fatal liver disease at some point in their lives and in some cases, unknowingly transmitting the infection to others is a common scenario with these patients who are living under the impression that they are not affected, and hence, do not go through proper preventive or corrective treatment.
Elimination of viral hepatitis is achievable. The availability of effective vaccines and treatments for hepatitis B and a cure for hepatitis C has brought us that advantage. However, greater awareness and understanding of the disease and the risks is still wanting, and so is diagnostics and treatment at an affordable cost.
Viral hepatitis belongs on the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) set with international agreement. Also, the world’s first global hepatitis strategy is well under way and the leading organisations such as the WHO are expecting and soliciting administrative / political commitment. World Hepatitis Day presents an ideal opportunity: an opportunity to join together and raise the awareness among the people. We can help them achieve that target just by spreading the awareness ourselves. Talk to your friends and family. Host awareness sessions in your community. Maybe, you can even help by organizing vaccine camps, or at least contribute towards funding them at a local hospital or medical centre.
PART OF THE WORLD HEPATITIS ALLIANCE…
There is a World Hepatitis Alliance (WHA). New fact, isn’t it? It is funny how we keep missing the more relevant news in the flurry of funnier and useless topics, and only get to know about them when it is evident that the danger is at the door. Let’s ask ourselves this: until ZIKA arrived in India… or SARS for that matter, did we bother to sit up and take notice? We didn’t. Hepatitis is a greater risk, we’d say, for an evident reason. It is a silent killer in most cases. So it would not likely make headlines unless the situation is dire. The idea, then, is to be informed to start with, and be ready without panicking.
The alliance is an NGO of 249 member patient groups from 84 countries and it works with governments, national members and other key partners to raise awareness of viral hepatitis and influence global change.
Let’s all come together this World Hepatitis day to promise we will help spread that awareness. To achieve a world free from viral hepatitis, we need to be informed first. As they say, information is half the cure.