World Hepatitis Day, which this year falls on 29 July 2018, is an annual event organised by the World Hepatitis Alliance (WHA) in collaboration with the World Health Organisation (WHO), with the aim of raising awareness of the global threat of hepatitis. This year’s theme is ‘Find the missing millions’, a campaign which highlights the estimated 300 million people across the globe who are living with viral hepatitis but are unaware of their infection and are not receiving care. Unless these people are detected and treated, they face the risks of liver disease, liver cancer and of spreading the infection to others.
The WHA are launching a three-year programme to find the missing millions and aim to have diagnosed 30% of people by 2020 and 95% by 2030. The WHA hope to achieve this by raising awareness globally, influencing national testing policies, encouraging people to be tested and improving linkage to care.
In Scotland, a short-life working group, chaired by Prof John Dillon (University of Dundee and NHS Tayside) and Dr Esther Aspinall (Glasgow Caledonian University and NHS Ayrshire & Arran), has been commissioned to generate specific recommendations to intensify the effort to identify people who remain undiagnosed with hepatitis C and ensure that people who are already diagnosed find it easy to access therapy, particularly in community settings. The group is due to report their recommendations in the autumn of 2018.