World Hepatitis Day 2019: Significance of this day, why is Hepatitis feared
New Delhi, July 27: Today is World Hepatitis Day 2019. The aim of this day is to raise global awareness about hepatitis. The theme of World Hepatitis Day 2019 is "Invest in eliminating Hepatitis". The theme focuses on the hepatitis elimination goals by 2030, in the context of the universal health coverage.
Hepatitis is a group of infectious diseases known as Hepatitis A, B, C, D, and E. Hepatitis affects hundreds of millions of people worldwide, causing acute and chronic disease and killing close to 1.34 million people every year.
During World Hepatitis Day 2019 campaign, WHO is urging all countries and partners to promote the theme "Invest in eliminating hepatitis". WHO will release new estimates for additional investments needed to achieve globally agreed hepatitis elimination goals by 2030, in the context of the universal health coverage. The host country for World Hepatitis Day 2019 is Pakistan. The global events will be held in Islamabad, Pakistan on 27-28 July 2019.
Pitching for creating a mass movement to combat viral hepatitis, Lok Sabha Speaker Om Birla on Saturday said the country must join hands to make India free of the disease like polio.
He was speaking at the launch of a year-long countrywide campaign by a city-based hospital, Indian Institute of Liver & Biliary Sciences (ILBS), on the eve of World Hepatitis Day.
"We need a people's movement and mass participation to raise awareness about hepatitis, especially hepatitis B and C, just like we did to fight polio," Birla said.
"I can say that efforts made through this campaign will bear fruit," he said.
He added he would request all members of Parliament to raise awareness about the disease, its causes and prevention in their respective constituencies.
Union Health Minister Harsh Vardhan, who was also present on the dais, also urged people to come together to fight hepatitis. "Like we did it against polio with a mass and sustained campaign, we can do it against hepatitis too. It may seem a herculean task, but it is certainly not impossible," he said.
Underlining the disease's link to alcohol, Vardhan also urged people to start a "new trend" of not serving liquor at weddings, conferences and other public functions, and to "take pride in it".