World Hepatitis Day 2019! Invest in eliminating H̶e̶p̶a̶t̶i̶t̶i̶s̶
World Hepatitis Day (WHD) takes places every year on 28 July bringing the world together under a single theme to raise awareness of the global burden of viral hepatitis and to influence real change.
WHO aims to address the following objectives for World Hepatitis Day 2019:
- To urge national and regional policymakers increase political and financial commitments for hepatitis response.
- To highlight WHO’s new costing estimates for hepatitis elimination within the context of health-related Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and UHC by 2030.
- To encourage people come forward to access hepatitis prevention, testing and treatment services.
According to WHO, there are five types of viral hepatitis infections – A, B, C, D and E. Over 95% of deaths are caused by chronic hepatitis B and C infections, while hepatitis A and E rarely cause life-threatening illnesses. Hepatitis D is an additional infection occurring in people living with hepatitis B.
Viral hepatitis B and C affect 325 million people worldwide causing 1.4 million deaths a year. It is the second major killer infectious disease after tuberculosis, and 9 times more people are infected with hepatitis than HIV. Hepatitis is preventable, treatable, and in the case of hepatitis C, curable. However, over 80% of people living with hepatitis are lacking prevention, testing and treatment services.
On World Hepatitis Day 2019, WHO calls on all countries to “Invest in eliminating hepatitis” through costing, budgeting and financing of elimination services within their universal health coverage plans. While there has been broad support among WHO Member States in adopting the WHO hepatitis elimination strategy, with 124 out of 194 countries developing hepatitis plans, over 40% of country plans lack dedicated budget lines to support elimination efforts.
WHO’s global hepatitis strategy, endorsed by all WHO Member States, aims to reduce new hepatitis infections by 90% and deaths by 65% between 2016 and 2030.