28 July: World Hepatitis Day
World Hepatitis Day was observed across the world on 28 July 2013. The theme for the year 2013 is This is Hepatitis, Know it, Confront it. The theme has been set with an aim of creating a global awareness about the Hepatitis virus and to encourage its prevention, treatment and diagnosis. Of the five types of viruses, B and C are considered to be dangerous.
Food and Water Borne infections causes Hepatitis A and E Virus because of which millions of cases of acute illness is reported every year. Worldwide, infections with hepatitis B and C viruses cause an estimated 57% of cases of liver cirrhosis and 78% of cases of primary liver cancer. The availability of a vaccine that confers lifelong protection against infection with the hepatitis B virus gives public health a rare opportunity to prevent a leading cause of cancer, especially in low- and middle-income countries.
The significance of these challenges and opportunities was formally acknowledged in 2010, when the World Health Assembly adopted its first resolution on viral hepatitis.
About World Hepatitis Day
In 2008, the World Hepatitis Alliance launched the World Hepatitis Day to the concern that chronic viral hepatitis did not have the level of awareness, nor the political priority, seen with other communicable diseases such as HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria. Since 2008 World Hepatitis Day has been coordinated by the World Hepatitis Alliance. It is an annual event that provides international focus of the patient groups and living people to raise awareness about hepatitis B and C and influence real change in disease prevention and access to testing and treatment.
In May 2010 the World Health Assembly passed resolution WHA63.18 on viral hepatitis, which provides official endorsement of World Hepatitis Day as the primary focus for national and international awareness-raising efforts. That resolution, which called for a comprehensive approach to prevention and control, opened a new era of awareness about the magnitude of disease caused by viral hepatitis and the need for urgent action on several fronts.
The day is observed on 28 July to mark the birthday of Professor Baruch Blumberg, awarded the Nobel Prize for his work in discovering the hepatitis B virus.
Hepatitis in India
India is a home of about 11 percent of people from the world population that suffers from the chronic disease Hepatitis B and about 1 to 2 lakh people die every year due to hepatocellular carcinoma or cirrhosis.