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28 July World Hepatitis Day

World Hepatitis Day is commemorated each year on 28 July to enhance awareness of viral hepatitis, an inflammation of the liver that causes a range of health problems, including liver cancer.

There are five main strains of the hepatitis virus – A, B, C, D and E. Together, hepatitis B and C are the most common cause of deaths, with 1.3 million lives lost each year. Amid the COVID-19 pandemic, viral hepatitis continues to claim thousands of lives every day.

This year’s theme is “Hepatitis-free future,” with a strong focus on preventing hepatitis B among mothers and newborns. On 28 July, WHO will publish new recommendations on the prevention of mother-to-child transmission of the virus

According to World Health Organization’s website, viral hepatitis can be eliminated through the following actions:

PREVENT infection among newborns. All newborns should be vaccinated against hepatitis B at birth, followed by at least 2 additional doses.

STOP TRANSMISSION from MOTHER to CHILD. All pregnant women should be routinely tested for hepatitis B, HIV and syphilis and receive treatment if needed.

LEAVE NO ONE BEHIND. Everyone should have access to hepatitis prevention, testing and treatment services, including people who inject drugs, people in prisons, migrants, and other highly-affected populations.

EXPAND access to testing and treatment. Timely testing and treatment of viral hepatitis can prevent liver cancer and other severe liver diseases.

MAINTAIN essential hepatitis services during COVID-19. Prevention and care services for hepatitis – such as infant immunization, harm reduction services and continuous treatment of chronic hepatitis B – are essential even during the pandemic.

Source: World Health Organization

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