Eliminate Hepatitis: the message of World Hepatitis Day 2017
The international health community is waging its ongoing war against hepatitis more rigorously than ever. The theme of World Hepatitis Day 2017, 26th July, is ‘Eliminate Hepatitis’; a clear rallying call to action to bolster the WHO’s aim of building momentum and accelerating progress towards eliminating viral hepatitis by 2030.
World Hepatitis Day is marked annually along with only three other official disease-specific, annual world health days. The disease has been placed centre stage since the 69th World Health Assembly in Geneva just over two years ago when the international community launched NOhep, the first ever global movement to eliminate hepatitis B and C in the next 13 years.
Millions of people worldwide could be carriers of hepatitis B and C without being aware of it. Viral hepatitis is known as a silent disease and is one of the leading causes of death globally, accounting for 1.34 million deaths per year. According to the WHO, this figure is as high as the number of deaths from HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis or malaria. Together, hepatitis B virus and hepatitis C cause 80% of liver cancer cases in the world.
The campaign hashtag #showyourface is part of its drive to raise awareness and empower us all to play a role in fighting the disease. What singles this year out in particular is this emphasis on engaging individuals in delivering the 2030 goal, not just relying on national and local governmental health services and other official entities. The World Hepatitis Day social campaign asks us to say what we are doing personally to help eliminate hepatitis.
The other aspect of this year’s campaign is the role WHO is playing in ensuring information on how to fight heptatitis can be acted upon easily at local level “…to achieve elimination, greater awareness, increased diagnosis and key interventions including universal vaccination, blood and injection safety, harm reduction and treatment”.
Medilink’s role in helping eliminate hepatitis
As hepatitis can easily go unnoticed, it is imperative we have regular tests that can detect the various types of hepatitis. Medilink offers routine hepatitis screening and hepatitis A and B vaccinations at all its clinics including those in remote areas.
The fact that there is currently no vaccine available for hepatitis C heightens our need to be responsible for our own routine healthcare. We also need to be vigilant in ensuring adequate prevention control in the chain of transmission at work, home and in the community.
Medilink’s occupational health services are available for our clients including at our remote site clinics. Our fitness-to-work examinations can provide early warning of hepatitis infection. We offer these pre, post and during staff contracts.
We also offer a weekly global health alert bulletin indicating areas of disease outbreaks and prevalence. Just use the form below to subscribe.