It is observed on the 28th of July every year to raise awareness of viral hepatitis which causes inflammation of the liver leading to severe disease (acute & chronic) cirrhosis & liver cancer.
The theme for 2022 is: HEPATITIS CAN’T WAIT; “BRINGING HEPATITIS CARE CLOSER TO YOU”.
It is a global health problem, as such, global efforts are being geared towards eliminating the different types of viral hepatitis particularly B, C & D infections which cause >95% of hepatitis deaths.
The World Health Organisation aims to achieve elimination of hepatitis by 2030
General Risk Factors for Hepatitis
Living in a household with an infected person
Sexual partner of an infected person
Lack of safe water
Travelling to areas of high endemicity
There are 5 main hepatitis viruses, referred to as types A, B, C, D & E. These 5 types are of greatest concern because of the burden of illness and death they cause and the potential for outbreaks & epidemic spread.
Hepatitis A & E: feco-oral route
Hepatitis B, C & D: spread by needle stick injury, tattooing, exposure to infected blood & body fluids, transfusion of unscreened blood & blood products
Several blood tests can be done to diagnose & monitor treatment
Specific to the type of viral hepatitis
Hepatitis A & E: improved sanitation/hygiene
Hepatitis B: Vaccination & reduction of risk factors
Hepatitis C: Depends on reducing the risk factors
Hepatitis D: prevention of hepatitis B is effective in preventing hepatitis D transmission
In celebrating 2022 World Hepatitis Day, there is need to bring hepatitis care closer to the primary health facilities, communities & individuals to better access vaccination, treatment & care of all forms of viral hepatitis.