Under the call to action “We’re not waiting”, World Hepatitis Day takes place on 28th July 2023. This slogan highlights the need for accelerated elimination efforts, celebrating the communities who are making change happen whilst demanding further action. Some types of hepatitis are preventable through vaccination, and WHO estimates that 4.5 million deaths could be avoided in low- and middle-income countries by 2030, through vaccination, diagnostic tests, medicines, and education campaigns. WHO’s goal, endorsed by Member States, is a 90% reduction of new hepatitis infections and a 65% reduction of deaths between 2016 and 2030.  

“Every year, more than a million lives are lost to hepatitis. We’re not waiting for change – we’re fighting to make it happen.” 
What is hepatitis? 

Hepatitis is an inflammation of the liver, commonly caused by a viral infection. There are 5 main viruses of concern (A-E) that are responsible for illness and death. The World Hepatitis Alliance suggests that every 30 seconds someone dies from a hepatitis-related illness. It disproportionately affects people in communities that are “most underservered by health systems”. To learn more about each type of viral hepatitis, visit WHA for more information.  

WHO: One life, one liver 

WHO’s theme for WHD 2023 is “one life, one liver”, with the sombre warning that “hepatitis can devastate both”. With symptoms appearing “once the disease is advanced”, many infections are undetected. However, there are vaccines and treatments, so protection is possible. WHO offers several key messages: 

  1. We’ve only got one life, and we’ve only got one liver. Hepatitis can devastate both. 
  2. Viral hepatitis still kills over a million people every year.  
  3. Globally, there’s a huge number of undiagnosed and untreated people living with hepatitis. This must change. 
  4. So many hepatitis infections – and deaths – can be prevented.  
  5. With COVID-19 no longer a global health emergency, now’s the time to eliminate viral hepatitis and meet our 2030 targets.  

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