This year saw the third World Hepatitis Day campaign since its launch in 2008. It has been the most successful to date, and we are very pleased with the efforts of all who took part. The day was celebrated across the world by over 200 patient groups, all pledging their support to raise the awareness of chronic viral hepatitis B and C.
During the week of the 19th May, three buses were sent on the road visiting various cities throughout the UK. This bought hepatitis awareness into the high street and allowed patients, healthcare professionals and Trust staff to interact and work together towards a common goal. The buses also provided a free testing service and advice to anyone who felt they may have been at risk.
The 63rd World Health Assembly in Geneva was held the same week and an agreement was made on the World Health Organization resolution for viral hepatitis. This was a momentous moment for all of us, who over the years have campaigned collectively and tirelessly to achieve this outcome.
The week was also marked by a reception in parliament on the 19th May, attended by politicians and celebrities to launch the pharmacy testing scheme in the UK. The same day saw many local and regional radio stations discussing the subject of hepatitis on a national level. Local hospitals and projects also took it upon themselves to host events throughout the week.
Further campaigns were held by many other organisations similar to the Hepctrust throughout the world making it the most successful WHD we have seen.
The aims of this single international day focusing on chronic viral hepatitis (B & C) were to:
- Raise awareness of these diseases within the general public, people at risk, healthcare providers and government audiences.
- Provide an overall theme within which patient groups in each country can highlight particular national needs. Because this is a patient-led campaign, much of the campaign material is devoted to supporting patient groups in delivering whatever message they decide is appropriate for their country.
Draw together data not just on prevalence and incidence but also on best practice and barriers to improved outcomes in a ‘Hepatitis Atlas’
- Persuade national governments to commit to ‘12 Asks’ by 2012. Governments with good hepatitis programmes will be encouraged to become ‘early adopters’ and have their work show-cased.
- Have the WHO officially adopt World Hepatitis Day.
We were pleased to see all of the aims met, and a start made to programmes such as the 12 Asks.
Details of some of the events hosted in the UK can be found by following the links below. International reports of the day can be found at www.worldhepatitisalliance.org