World Hepatitis Day 2021: Know history, significance and theme
World Hepatitis Day (WHD) is celebrated every year on July 28 in order to spread awareness about viral hepatitis, an inflammation of the liver that can cause severe liver disease and hepatocellular cancer. This day is an opportunity to raise awareness of the importance of knowing one's hepatitis status and to spread the word about its treatment.
Hepatitis is a group of infectious diseases known by its various variants, like A, B, C, D, and E. Hepatitis is commonly caused by a viral infection, but there are several risk factors, such as excessive consumption of alcohol, toxins, some medications and certain medical conditions.
The World Health Organization (WHO) has identified hepatitis as a major health concern for India. As per WHO, in India 2020, about 4 crore people were chronically infected with hepatitis B, and 60 lakh to 1.2 crore people with hepatitis C. According to the Indian Journal of Medical Research, in India, about 2,50,000 people die of viral hepatitis or its sequelae every year.
History of World Hepatitis Day
This day is marked on July 28 on the birthday of Nobel Prize-winning scientist Dr Baruch Blumberg to honour him. He discovered the Hepatitis B virus (HBV). He also developed a diagnostic test and vaccine to treat the Hep-B virus.
Theme of World Hepatitis Day 2021
In 2021, the theme is 'Hepatitis Can't Wait', conveying the urgency of efforts needed to eliminate hepatitis as a public health threat by 2030.