World Hepatitis Day

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For a future that is, Hepatitis free

Do you know what day today is? No! Not weekday ‘day’. But like a specific day such as Valentine day, Chocolate day and White day. Well, you might not know it but today is Hepatitis day. Yes, you heard and thought it just right. Hepatitis, a disease associated with the inflammation of the liver. After all, it’s common knowledge. But have you wondered as to why we Hepatitis Day is celebrated and why has it been designated a specific day of the year? I bet you haven’t. And all the more amidst these troubling times. Well, then allow me to divert your attention toward the pondering process. Why? How? See for yourself! 

  • Friends for a pandemic: Hepatitis and COVID-19

Hepatitis refer to an inflammation of the liver that causes a range of health problems, including liver cancer. And as they say, ‘Cancer can cancel you’. Just kidding, though. Well, back to the issue, there are five main strains of the hepatitis virus – A, B, C, D and E. Together, hepatitis B and C are the most common cause of deaths, with 1.3 million lives lost each year. And even amid the COVID-19 pandemic, viral hepatitis continues to claim thousands of lives every day. With so much fear and fake information out there, people don’t step out of their homes, especially new-borns and mothers. Well, they shouldn’t yet they should. What? Yes, remember as a child when your parents took you to the doctor to get vaccinated a couple of times even though you weren’t sick. That’s because children must be administered certain vaccines which helps them to develop anti-bodies And among those couple of vaccines, one such is that of Hepatitis B. One of the very common Hepatitis infection. And since, COVID-19 has grabbed the world in fear and distraught with it clutches, it’s been difficult for many to get the necessary health care and vaccination for their children. Well, those were facts, now have a glance over the figures:

  • 325 million people are living with viral hepatitis B and C
  • 900,000 deaths per year caused by hepatitis B virus infection
  • 10% of people living with hepatitis B and 19% living with hepatitis C know their hepatitis status.
  • Only 42% of children, globally, have access to the birth dose of the hepatitis B vaccine
  • World Hepatitis day: Approach to a ‘Hepatitis-free future’

World Hepatitis Day is commemorated each year on 28 July to enhance awareness of viral hepatitis and this year’s theme is “Hepatitis-free future,” with a strong focus on preventing hepatitis B among mothers and new-borns and is working together with all the member countries to eliminate viral hepatitis as a public health threat by 2030. 

Hepatitis can because due to several reasons such as drugs, toxins, as a secondary result of medications, alcoholism and auto-immune disease where your body begins to produce antibodies against the liver. But fear not because it’s a disease just any other and can be prevented. How? By following the five golden rules:  

  • PREVENT infection among new-borns. All new-borns should 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 tested for hepatitis B, HIV and syphilis and receive treatment if needed.
  • LEAVE NO ONE BEHIND. Everyone should have access to hepatitis prevention, testing and treatment services, including people who inject drugs, people in prisons, migrants, and other highly-affected populations.
  • EXPAND access to testing and treatment. Timely testing and treatment of viral hepatitis can prevent liver cancer and other severe liver diseases.
  • MAINTAIN essential hepatitis services during COVID-19. Prevention and care services for hepatitis – such as infant immunization, harm reduction services and continuous treatment of chronic hepatitis B – are essential even during the pandemic.

Now that you know what Hepatitis is and why is it important like Valentine and Birthday. Do your bit and start spreading awareness among masses about the same.