Every year on 28 July, WHO and partners mark World Hepatitis Day to increase the awareness and understanding of viral hepatitis and the diseases that it causes. Viral hepatitis – a group of infectious diseases known as Hepatitis A, B, C, D, and E – affects hundreds of millions of people worldwide, causing acute and chronic liver disease and killing close to 1.4 million people every year. But hepatitis remains largely ignored or unknown.
In April this year, WHO issued new recommendations on treatment of Hepatitis C. In May, World Health Assembly delegates from 194 governments adopted a resolution to improve prevention, diagnosis, and treatment of viral hepatitis.
On World Hepatitis Day, 28 July 2014, WHO and partners will urge policymakers, health workers and the public to 'Think again' about this silent killer.
World Hepatitis Day provides an opportunity to focus on specific actions, such as:
- strengthening prevention, screening and control of viral hepatitis and its related diseases;
- increasing hepatitis B vaccine coverage and integration of the vaccine into national immunization programmes;
- coordinating a global response to viral hepatitis.
The date of 28 July was chosen for World Hepatitis Day in honour of the birthday of Nobel Laureate Professor Baruch Samuel Blumberg, discoverer of the hepatitis B virus.