“Hepatitis B and C cause 1.4 million deaths per year – more than HIV/AIDS and malaria, and a number comparable to tuberculosis. Together, these viruses cause two out of three liver cancer deaths across the world.”
So, today July 28th, 2021 is world hepatitis day. I bet some of you didn’t know that, but now you do. World Hepatitis Day is commemorated every year on this date to raise awareness of the global burden of viral hepatitis in our society, and influence real action towards curbing its existence.
There are people living with viral hepatitis around us, some unaware of this silent killer, and many who are aware, do not even have access to the lifesaving treatments, thus, the need for this yearly awareness programme.
For those of you who do not know, Hepatitis is an inflammation of the liver, most commonly caused by a viral infection.
The five main Hepatitis viruses are Hepatitis A, B, C, D, and E. Though all types are considered dangerous, Hepatitis B and C prove to be the most common and more fatal, accounting for more deaths annually than HIV/AIDS, malaria, and TB.
The theme for this year is “HEP CAN’T WAIT”, and we say, neither should you.
- People living with viral hepatitis unaware can’t wait to get tested. In Nigeria, about 20 million people are chronically infected with hepatitis B and C and only about 10% and 19% of patients respectively, are aware of their infections. These viruses could lead to liver cancer if not properly treated.
- People living with hepatitis can’t wait to be screened and receive life-saving treatments.
- Newborn babies can’t wait for their birth dose vaccinations. Birth dose vaccines cost as low as 20 cents (~ 70 naira), yet aren’t used in 48% of countries worldwide.
Hepatitis should be seen as important as checking your blood pressure or your HIV status, and so, this year we say:
- We can’t wait for hepatitis screening to be free.
- We can’t wait for the awareness on the modes of transmission and treatment of Hepatitis to be made a priority for both health workers and the masses.
- We can’t wait for medications to be made affordable & available.
SPREAD THE WORD TODAY!