World Hepatitis Day coming soon
Written by Dylan O'Sullivan, Programme Manager, World Hepatitis Alliance.
Worldwide, 400 million people are living with hepatitis B or C and every year 1.4 million people die from viral hepatitis; that’s as many as die from HIV/AIDS and yet the disease remains remarkably neglected.
World Hepatitis Day is a community-led initiative, which was globally launched in 2008. Thanks to extensive advocacy work by the World Hepatitis Alliance (WHA) and its patient group members the day gained official recognition in 2010. The World Health Assembly adopted a resolution, which made World Hepatitis Day one of only four official disease-specific days, to be marked each year on the 28th July.
Millions of people across the world now take part in World Hepatitis Day, to raise awareness about viral hepatitis, and to call for access to treatment, better prevention programs and government action. Last year events were held in over 150 countries, and 87 governments officially marked the day. This kind of success is evidence of what can be achieved when the community of patients comes together.
The focus this year
In partnership with the World Health Organization, WHA provides a global campaign platform for organisations and individuals wishing to mark World Hepatitis Day. The focus this year is prevention. As a patient led organisation we feel that it is important to emphasise that treatment is also a key element of prevention, along with testing, vaccination, blood and injection safety, and harm reduction.
Our campaign materials are designed to help raise public awareness, and also to provide advocacy tools for patient groups to engage their governments in providing better access to services and treatment. One of the unique tools we provide is the custom poster tool, which allows organisations to customise every element of the official posters while still retaining the branding and overall feel that unites their specific messages under the global campaign banner.
We also use innovative social media platforms to generate public awareness such as this year’s ‘4000 voices’ which uses Twitter to curate messages of support under the hashtag #4000voices and build a mosaic of avatars to illustrate the scale of 4000 preventable deaths every day. We also use a Thunderclap to send out a unified message on World Hepatitis Day; this year we are delighted to have the support of British actor/comedian Stephen Fry and Sir Richard Branson.
For more information see the World Hepatitis Day website.