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World Hepatitis Day 2015
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.
The date of 28 July was chosen for World Hepatitis Day in honour of the birthday of Nobel Laureate Professor Baruch Samuel Blumberg, who discovered the hepatitis B virus.
World Hepatitis Day 2015: Prevent hepatitis. Act Now
In the Western Pacific Region, viral hepatitis is labelled the ‘silent epidemic’ though is responsible for more deaths than that from HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis, and malaria combined (GBD 2013 Mortality and Causes of Death Study: Lancet 2014). Caused by a group of 5 distinct hepatitis viruses: A, B, C, D, and E, Viral Hepatitis is transmitted via contaminated food and water (A, E), contact with blood or bodily fluids (B, C, D) through mother-to-child transmission (especially B and C), and by sexual contact (especially B). Over 50% of all hepatitis B infections worldwide occur in the Western Pacific Region, and chronic hepatitis B and C infections cause 94% of viral hepatitis deaths – primarily through liver cancer and cirrhosis.
On World Hepatitis Day, 28 July 2015, WHO and partners urge policy-makers, health workers and the public to "act now to prevent infection and death from hepatitis."
World Hepatitis Day provides an opportunity to focus on specific actions, such as:
strengthening prevention, screening and control of viral hepatitis and related liver diseases;
increasing hepatitis B vaccine coverage and continuing to increase integration of the vaccine into national immunization programmes including the birth dose of the hepatitis B vaccine;
coordinating a global response to viral hepatitis.
In May 2014, World Health Assembly delegates from 194 governments adopted a resolution to promote global action to prevent, diagnose, and treat viral hepatitis.
In April 2015, experts from the Western Pacific Region and the member states held the first Strategic Technical Advisory Committee for Viral Hepatitis and initial Member State consultation on the draft Regional Action Plan for Viral Hepatitis in the Western Pacific at the WHO Regional Office for the Western Pacific Region in Manila, Philippines.