Hepatitis is one of the major concerns in third world counties where people do not get to drink clean water. People lack necessary hygienic conditions which puts them at high risk for contracting the disease. World Hepatitis Day is celebrated on 28th July. The purpose of marking this day is to increase awareness regarding the severity of the disease.
What is World Hepatitis Day?
Hepatitis is a viral disease. It causes infection and inflammation in the liver, which is a vital organ. It is responsible for some essential functions in the body. Those functions include digesting food, storing food, and removing any toxicity in the body. There are different kinds of Hepatitis that exist, including type A, B, and C, D, and E. Each variety has different symptoms. Diarrhea, stomach pain, loss of appetite, and Jaundice are among them. Hepatitis can be detected through blood tests.
The worst kind of Hepatitis leads to liver cancer, but most people only have mild Hepatitis. Hepatitis is one of the leading causes of death worldwide. Vaccines can fix some viral forms of Hepatitis. While other stays for a lifetime. The ultimate goal of World hepatitis day is to remove viral Hepatitis from the earth. It has a goal to eliminate it as a global public health threat by the end of 2030.
When was the first Hepatitis day?
On 1st October 2004 some patients from Europe and the middle east coordinated International Hepatitis C awareness day. The purpose of the event was to make people aware of the severity of the infection. It was to educate people regarding how common it is and how it can be detected and treated. Some groups of patients kept marking awareness day on different dates of the year.
World Hepatitis Alliance is an organization, formed in 2007, made by a group of people having hepatitis. It represents the 320 million people who are suffering from this disease.
In 2008, they decided to fix the date of marking the Hepatitis day. Each year people celebrated this day on different dates. 19th May was agreed on by The World Hepatitis Alliance, along with the patients. However, during the 63rd world health assembly, everyone agreed to select 28th July as the day. They chose this day because Baruch Samuel, who discovered hepatitis B celebrates his birthday on this day.
More than 100 countries mark this day on 28th July, since then. Around the world, many Interactive and educational activities take place.
Why is Hepatitis day celebrated?
Viral Hepatitis is 1 of the 10 most deadly infectious diseases, and it causes more than 1.34 million deaths per year. Hepatitis is a major global health threat. Several measures are taken to fight this fatal disease. Chronic Hepatitis B and C is the cause of 60% of liver cancer cases worldwide. Most of the people who are infected with Hepatitis B and C do not realize that they are affected unless they are diagnosed with terminal liver damage. The chronically infected people can live for decades without having any symptoms. It is a hidden epidemic for this reason. There is a need to create awareness among the people because it is something that can be fought. Primary education can save a lot of lives.
How to celebrate World Hepatitis Day?
People from all around the world take part in these vast activities in schools, offices, clinics, public spaces, etc. Some of these activities include setting up free blood tests, vaccination stalls, concerts, flash mobs, TV talk shows, art exhibitions, speeches, discussions, and so many more These activities include social media campaigns, which help reach a much wider audience. People get excited when they take part in such activities. This motivates them to do something for the cause. This way, people learn a great deal and participate with enthusiasm.
Each year this day has a different theme which helps to switch up the primary discussion. It allows people to be more creative with their campaigns. The topics are non-repetitive, which helps to keep the people interested and motivated. The theme of 2018 was “Test. Treat. Hepatitis.” and the subject of 2017 was “Eliminate hepatitis,” and so on. The idea for the 2020 World Hepatitis Day is “Find The Missing Millions.”
Goals of World Hepatitis Day:
(a)Awareness regarding the five viruses and how can we avoid getting infected.
To fight this viral disease, we have to look deep into what causes it. Five viruses cause it, which are: A, B, C, D, and E.
Virus A and E cause acute infections, which are short term. Hepatitis A spreads through contact with contaminated food, water, and feces. The contaminated water is the number one reason for the spread of Hepatitis A. It clears out of the infected person’s body within 4-6 weeks. These do not have life-threatening outcomes. Better sanitation and safety can prevent it.
Virus B, C, and D cause chronic and long-term infections, which can end up having fatal consequences. The virus spreads when an infected person shares needles and other medical equipment. Infected mothers of Virus B can transfer the disease to their babies during birth if mothers have hepatitis disease. These infections need to be detected early on. They can lead to liver cancer, cirrhosis, and liver failure.
(b) Creating awareness regarding the vaccines for Hepatitis A and B:
Vaccine for virus A exists and is effective as well. The vaccine for virus B is an essential vaccine. It does not only protect against hepatitis B, but it protects against the virus D. Virus D only affects those who have contracted the virus B. All infants must take vaccination for Hepatitis B.
Vaccine for virus E has been created, but for now, it is only available in parts of China. Unfortunately, no vaccination for virus C exists yet, but the researchers are working on it.
(c) Get a global response of the people
This day not only creates awareness, but it helps initiate the conversation regarding this deadly disease. This helps fight the social stigma surrounding it. When the stigma is lifted, people are encouraged to take part in early testing. This will not only help diagnose people early, but it will help control the spread of this contagious disease. This important day has helped to expand the horizons. It brought people to invest in more researches, which will lead to better drugs and vaccines. This will help to equip the people better for the fight against this virus.
Some facts about World Hepatitis day
- Hepatitis day is on 28th July. Every year, this day, people run several awareness camps.
- The motto this year is “to Find the missing million.” Which is an initiative to bring forward those people who still do not know that they have Hepatitis?
- Hepatitis C is more infectious than HIV.
- It was first marked on 1st October 2004 when some patients ran an awareness complaint against Hepatitis C.
- There are a series of blood tests that confirm that what degree of Hepatitis you are suffering from. It tells about the type of Hepatitis the person is suffering from.