The 28th of July marks an important date in the global health calendar, World Hepatitis Day 2023. As the world comes together to shed light on this often-underestimated disease, there is an increasing need to know and understand its implications, prevention, and control methods. Here, we delve into what you need to know about World Hepatitis Day 2023 and explore the critical measures we can take against Hepatitis.
World Hepatitis Day: A Deeper Understanding
World Hepatitis Day is observed each year on July 28th, a date chosen by the World Health Organization (WHO) to honor the birth of Dr. Baruch Blumberg, who won the Nobel Prize for his discovery of the Hepatitis B virus. It is a day dedicated to increasing global awareness about viral hepatitis, a group of infectious diseases known as Hepatitis A, B, C, D, and E.
World Hepatitis Day is a call to action for individuals, communities, and policy-makers to work toward the prevention, diagnosis, and treatment of hepatitis. The theme for World Hepatitis Day 2023, as declared by the WHO, is “Hepatitis Can’t Wait”. This underlines the urgent need for global action to prevent the spread of this disease, which claims the lives of about 1.34 million people each year.
Hepatitis: A Silent Killer
Hepatitis refers to an inflammation of the liver, typically caused by a viral infection. However, in some cases, hepatitis can result from toxins (notably alcohol, certain medications, and some industrial organic solvents and plants), autoimmune diseases, or bacterial infections.
There are five main strains of the hepatitis virus – A, B, C, D, and E. Hepatitis B and C, in particular, lead to chronic diseases in hundreds of millions of people and, together, are the most common cause of liver cirrhosis and cancer. Despite this, awareness and understanding of the disease are alarmingly low.
What to Know About World Hepatitis Day 2023
World Hepatitis Day 2023, under the theme “Hepatitis Can’t Wait,” seeks to convey that, despite the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, viral hepatitis cannot be ignored. Every 30 seconds, someone in the world dies from a hepatitis-related illness. Thus, for someone living with the disease, they can’t wait for the attention and care they need.
The event will see a myriad of activities at the global, national, and local levels, aimed at policy-making, health education, and community outreach. The purpose is not just to spread awareness but also to accelerate efforts toward achieving the goal of viral hepatitis elimination by 2030.
Taking Measures Against Hepatitis
Prevention is the most potent weapon we have against the spread of hepatitis. Here are some of the measures we can take:
1. Vaccination: Hepatitis A and B can be prevented through vaccines. Although there isn’t a vaccine for Hepatitis C yet, research is ongoing.
2. Safe practices: Use only sterilized needles and other tools for piercings, tattoos, or any other forms of skin penetration. Health workers should also follow safe injection practices.
3. Regular Screening: Regular screening for Hepatitis, especially for high-risk groups, is crucial. Early detection can lead to better management and treatment outcomes.
4. Safe Sex: Using condoms and practicing safe sex helps prevent the spread of Hepatitis B and C.
5. Education: Awareness about the disease, its transmission routes, and preventive measures play a crucial role in curbing its spread.
World Hepatitis Day 2023, “Hepatitis Can’t Wait,” is a stark reminder that there is an urgent need to step up global efforts to prevent, detect, and control hepatitis. It provides an opportunity to focus on specific actions such as implementing strategies for hepatitis prevention, expanding access to testing and treatment, and enabling legal environments that promote universal health coverage. By learning more and taking simple preventive measures, we can all contribute to a world free of hepatitis.
Remember, every action counts, and together, we can stop this silent killer. Hepatitis can’t wait; let’s end it now!