28th July is observed as the world Hepatitis day every year to raise awareness of viral hepatitis, a group of infectious liver diseases affecting hundreds of people worldwide. Over 900,000 deaths in the world are recorded every year caused by Hepatitis B infection. Hepatitis can cause a range of liver inflammation and health problems including liver cancer. There are five main strains of the hepatitis virus namely A, B, C, D and E. Hepatitis B and C are one of the most common causes of deaths, with 1.3 million lives lost each year.
World Hepatitis Day History
World Hepatitis Day is recognized on 28th July because it is the birthday of Dr Baruch Blumberg (1925–2011). He discovered the hepatitis B virus in 1967 and its vaccine in 1969. He won the Nobel Prize in Medicine in 1976 for his work on Hepatitis. 28th of July was designated as the world hepatitis day after the adoption of resolution during the 63rd World Health Assembly in May 2010.
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World Hepatitis Day 2020 Theme
This theme for World Hepatitis Day is “Hepatitis-free future,” with a special focus on preventing hepatitis B among mothers and newborns. WHO is asking all countries to work collectively to eliminate viral hepatitis as a public health threat by 2030.
A hepatitis free future can be achieved by the unified efforts of people and the government towards a common goal:
- PREVENT infection among the newborns. All newborns must be vaccinated against hepatitis B at birth, followed by at least 2 additional doses.
- STOP TRANSMISSION from MOTHER to CHILD. All pregnant women should be routinely examined for hepatitis B, HIV and syphilis, also receive treatment if needed.
- LEAVE NO ONE BEHIND. Everyone must be aware of hepatitis prevention, testing and treatment services.
- EXPAND access to testing and treatment for all. Timely examination and treatment of viral hepatitis can stop liver cancer and other severe liver diseases.
- MAINTAIN essential hepatitis services during COVID-19. Prevention and care services for hepatitis such as infant immunization, and continuous treatment of chronic hepatitis B – are essential even during the pandemic.