World Hepatitis Day, which falls on 28 July 2019, is an annual event organised by the World Hepatitis Alliance (WHA) in collaboration with the World Health Organization (WHO), which raises awareness of the global burden of hepatitis.
Approximately 325 million people worldwide are estimated to be living with viral hepatitis but of these, 290 million are unaware and not receiving care. Unless these ‘missing millions’ are detected and treated, they face the risk of liver disease, liver cancer and passing the infection on to others.
‘Find the Missing Millions’ is a three-year global awareness-raising and advocacy campaign, aimed at tackling the main barriers to diagnosis. A 2018 survey by the WHA identified the main barriers to Hepatitis B and C diagnosis globally as:
- lack of public knowledge of the disease
- lack of knowledge of the disease among healthcare professionals
- lack of easily accessible testing
- stigma and discrimination
- expense to the patient
For 2019, the WHO is focussing on the need for increased financing for hepatitis prevention, testing, treatment and care services in the context of universal health coverage (UHC) with a slogan ‘Invest in eliminating hepatitis’.
Further advice relating to hepatitis can be found on the TRAVAX (for health professionals) and fitfortravel (for the general public) websites.
Sources: TRAVAX and fitfortravel (both 28 July 2019)