World Hepatitis Day – 28th July 2020
Hepatitis is an irritation (inflammation) that happens in the liver. It can stop at irritation or progress to become fibrosis, Liver cirrhosis or Liver cancer. The most common cause of Hepatitis is Hepatitis viruses. But there can be other causes like other infections, toxic substances (Alcohol and drugs) and autoimmune diseases.
There are five main types of Hepatitis Virus referred to as type A, B, C, D and E. These five main types of Hepatitis viruses are the most dangerous ones because they lead to chronic liver illness or death. To create awareness globally about such dangerous Hepatitis Viruses, the United Nations has declared 28th July every year as World Hepatitis Day. Nearly 1.34 million people lose their life to this chronic illness.
World Hepatitis Day 2020 – History
The first international Hepatitis C day was organized in the co-ordination of various European and Middle Eastern patient groups and Baby Muriel on 1st October in the year 2004. Different patient groups continued to observe Hepatitis day on different dates. This is the reason, World Hepatitis Alliance, in collaboration with Patient groups, declared 18th May as the first World Hepatitis Day globally.
Blumberg, the one who discovered the Hepatitis B virus, mentioned in his autobiography that the idea of celebrating Hepatitis day originated in Cuttack, Odisha. The idea to mark World Hepatitis Day on 28th July was proposed by Professor SP Singh, Head of Gastroenterology, SCB Cuttack.
In May 2010, During the 63rd World Health Assembly adopted the resolution, World Hepatitis Day was declared globally to be celebrated on 28th July every year. The international day for Hepatitis is celebrated on 28th July in Honour of Nobel Laureate Baruch Samuel Blumberg, the one who discovered the hepatitis B virus, who celebrates his birthday on that date.
The resolution says that World Hepatitis day is observed, to provide an opportunity for education and a better understanding of Viral Hepatitis as a global public health problem. Also, to take measures on strengthening of preventive and control measures of Hepatitis all over the world.
Significance of World Hepatitis Day
The importance of this day is to spread awareness on Hepatitis, types of Hepatitis, cause, symptoms and cure. We often are very ignorant about the facts of this disease. It is critical to understand the seriousness of this illness. World Hepatitis day provides a platform to learn about Hepatitis and also spread awareness about the same.
There are close to 1.34 million people who get infected with this chronic illness and eventually die every year. World Hepatitis day is one of the eight official global public health campaigns recognized by the World Health Organization, along with other international health awareness days.
The symbol for World Hepatitis day represented by a globe on which Hepatitis is written all over the world in a blue theme and the centre there “World Hepatitis Day” written in the white backdrop. The globe symbolises encouraging better awareness, action, and prevention of Hepatitis worldwide.
Types of Hepatitis Virus
Hepatitis A (HAV) – Hepatitis A transmitted through contaminated food or water. One can contact this disease through certain sex positions also. HAV is mostly curable, and the person will stay immune to HAV for the rest of his life. HAV can be becoming life-threatening in places with poor sanitation. Vaccination for HAV is available for prevention.
Hepatitis B (HBV) – Hepatitis B transmitted through exposure to infected blood, semen or any other bodily fluid. HBV can be transmitted from the infected mother to the child during childbirth. HBV also gets transmitted through transfusion of HBV infected blood or blood products. Vaccination for HBV is available for prevention.
Hepatitis C (HCV) – Hepatitis C is transmitted mostly through exposure to infected blood. It can happen in the case of HCV contaminated blood transfusion or during any medical procedures. Transmission through sex is also possible but rarely happens. It is essential to be more cautious in case of HCV as there is no vaccination available for this.
Hepatitis D (HDV) – Hepatitis D happens only to the ones infected with HBV. The combination of HBV and HDV can be deadly. Vaccination for HBV also serves for HDV.
Hepatitis E (HEV) – Hepatitis E transmitted through contaminated water and food. The spread of HEV is a common worry in developing countries. There is vaccination developed for HEV but is not readily available.
World Hepatitis Day 2020 – Celebration
More than 100 countries now recognize “World Hepatitis Day” annually. They organize awareness events such as:
- Free screening: Organize for free Hepatitis check-up at local, national, and international levels.
- Poster Campaigns: Make and stick awareness posters all over the town.
- Demonstrations: Demonstrate about the cause, action, and prevention of Hepatitis to small and large groups, as convenient.
- Concerts: Hold free concerts on World hepatitis day as a Fundraiser event to support the cause.
- Talk shows: Attend the Talk shows where the experts share Hepatitis awareness.
- National Vaccination drives: Vaccination drives to prevent or control the spread of Hepatitis is a very diligent way of spreading awareness.
- Stand for a Cause: Coordinating a worldwide response for Hepatitis and its recognition.
World Hepatitis Day 2020 – Themes
Some of the themes recognized by World health organization are
- 2011: Hepatitis affects everyone everywhere. Know it. Confront it
- 2012: It is closer than you think
- 2013: More must be done to stop this silent killer
- 2014: Hepatitis Think Again
- 2015: Prevention of Viral Hepatitis, Act now.
- 2016: Know Hepatitis – Act now.
- 2017: Eliminate Hepatitis,
- 2018: Test, Treat Hepatitis.
- 2019: Invest in eliminating Hepatitis.
This World Hepatitis day lets make efforts to be more aware of it and, also to spread awareness about the same. It can happen to any of us, you, me, our neighbour, our friend or anyone that we know. If there is enough awareness about Hepatitis, we can help control (If already infected) or take preventive measures for the same. Let us promise to make it a globe free of Hepatitis.