This Thursday 28 July 2022 we are taking on World Hepatitis Day with the global theme ‘Hepatitis Can’t Wait’. This campaign brings together the World Hepatitis Alliance, the World Health Organization and a global network of over 300 members in nearly 100 countries. It highlights the need to accelerate efforts to eliminate hepatitis. Globally a person dies every 30 seconds from a hepatitis-related illness, and – even in the current COVID-19 crisis – we can’t wait to act on viral hepatitis.
Why the urgency? People living with viral hepatitis can’t wait for testing and life-saving treatments, expectant mothers can’t wait for screening, and babies can’t wait for their hepatitis B birth dose vaccination. Those with hepatitis can’t wait to end stigma and discrimination. Decision makers can’t wait, they must act now to eliminate hepatitis.
LiverWELL incorporating Hepatitis Victoria champions the interests of people affected by or at risk of viral hepatitis and liver disease. CEO Russell Shewan hopes that the green lights are a reminder of the message of World Hepatitis Day. “World Hepatitis Day is a global movement with structures everywhere lit up in green to represent hepatitis. We are calling on people from across Victoria to get involved, take action and raise awareness of hepatitis”, said Russell.
“Awareness of hepatitis is critical – hepatitis B and C are serious health issues in the community; they can lead to cirrhosis, liver failure and liver cancer – the fastest growing cause of cancer. Nearly 50,000 Victorians are living with hepatitis C and a further 50,000 living with hepatitis B – yet most of these people are not actively engaged in care and so are at risk of serious liver disease and avoidable death”, said Russell.
“The global hepatitis elimination goal of 2030 can only be reached if we focus on the urgent action needed from all stakeholders and the community to insist that decision-makers prioritise the elimination of viral hepatitis.”
Up to 6 Victorians die each week from viral hepatitis-related liver disease, the same number of deaths as the state road toll. The #HepCan’tWait! message couldn’t be more timely.