Hepatitis Can’t Wait – Even in the Current COVID-19 Crisis

Every 30 seconds, one person dies from a hepatitis-related illness. The urgency to eliminate hepatitis as a public health threat by 2030 is encapsulated in this year’s World Hepatitis Day theme, “Hepatitis can’t wait.”

 

World Hepatitis Day is observed each year on July 28 to raise awareness of viral hepatitis, an inflammation of the liver that causes severe liver disease and hepatocellular cancer and can lead to death. There are five main strains of the hepatitis virus A, B, C, D, and E. Hepatitis B and C are common causes of death.

The theme “Hepatitis can’t wait” conveys a strong message that there must be more significant efforts to act on viral hepatitis, even in the current COVID-19 pandemic. Every year, 1.3 million lives are lost each year to Hepatitis! To prevent hepatitis-related death, there must be greater awareness on the issue. It is critical that screening and treatment services are widely available and accessible. Furthermore, funding for hepatitis elimination and ending stigma and discrimination are crucial to encourage regular screening.

The lack of action on hepatitis elimination highlights the social injustice and inequity caused by the virus and the need for positive action to meet the WHO’s 2030 elimination goals.

Knowing your hepatitis status and seeking treatment can curb the spread of this disease and drastically improve patient outcomes. As such, promoting hepatitis awareness is a global public health matter. Our Community-Oriented Primary Care and Humanism in Health and Healthcare courses can help primary care providers develop the necessary skills to interact with hepatitis patients and promote screening services in communities. You can also enhance your ability to advocate for actions on hepatitis and make a significant change in your community or country by taking our Public Health Leadership course.

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