Every year on 28th July, the global community comes together to celebrate World Hepatitis Day to create awareness about and advocate collective action against Viral Hepatitis. The theme for this year’s World Hepatitis Day 2018 is “TEST. TREAT. HEPATITIS”. The theme calls for urgent action to support the scaling-up of hepatitis prevention, testing, treatment and care services.
“Hepatitis” refers to inflammation of the liver. It is most often caused by viruses (Hepatitis A, B, C, and E viruses). However, excessive use of alcohol, toxins, some drugs as well as some medical conditions can also cause hepatitis. Globally, there are about 325 million people living with viral hepatitis and of this number, 9 out of 10 people do not know that they have the disease (World Hepatitis Alliance, 2018). This means that unless there is urgent and massive scale-up in screening, diagnosis, and treatment, many people will get infected and more lives will be lost. The burden of viral hepatitis is thought to be highest in the African region. Most people in this region are affected by hepatitis B and C.
In Ghana, it is estimated that nearly 4 million people are living with viral hepatitis B or C and most are not aware that they are infected due to lack of awareness and poor access to hepatitis tests (WHO, 2016; Owusu-Ansah, 2017). This has contributed to the high burden of chronic liver diseases in Ghana. Fortunately, viral hepatitis is highly preventable and treatable. We thus join the global community to create awareness and encourage people to get tested, vaccinated or treated. Below are links for more information about viral hepatitis B and C.
Readers may also visit the Preventive Health Clinic of the University (KNUST) Hospital for more information.
World Hepatitis Alliance (2018). World Health Day 2018. [ Internet]. Available at: http://www.worldhepatitisalliance.org/world-hepatitis-day/world-hepatitis-day-2018. [Accessed on 25/7/2018].
World Health Organization (2016). Infographic: World Hepatitis Day, 28 July 2016. [ Internet] Available at: http://www.who.int/campaigns/hepatitis-day/2016/infographic/en/. Accessed on 25/7/2018].
Owusu-Ansah, T. (2017). Hepatitis: A Ghana situation review. [Internet]. Available at: https://www.iapo.org.uk/news/2017/jul/3/hepatitis-ghana-situation-review. [Accessed on 25/7/2018].