Every 28th of July, people all over the globe mark World Hepatitis Day. One of the major global health campaigns by the World Health Organization (WHO), this campaign is meant to raise awareness on the disease. The group is hoping to eradicate viral hepatitis as a public health threat by the year 2030.
One of the major steps toward the realization of the campaign’s overall goal is the signing of an agreement among 194 governments. In 2016, these signatories committed to diagnosing 90% of people living with viral hepatitis by the year 2030. As of the latest data, only 11% of people with the virus have been diagnosed.
Join the Search: Find the Missing Millions
This year, the theme is “Find the Missing Millions,” and for good reason.
The slogan is in reference to the nearly 300 million people across the world who are infected with viral hepatitis but are unaware they have it. According to the official campaign website, this year’s initiative aims to address barriers to achieving the desired diagnosis rate. This includes recognizing the lack of knowledge on the disease by both the general public and healthcare professionals. The WHO also hopes to ease the stigma and discrimination associated with hepatitis to encourage more people to get screened.
Thinking of doing your share? Here are some practical ways on how you can raise awareness for World Hepatitis Day.
1. Use Your Voice on Social Media
The easiest way to express support is to simply like, post, and share relevant information about hepatitis on social media. You can follow @WorldHepatitisDay on Facebook and other social networks to get the latest updates. Use the hashtags #findthemissingmillions and #WorldHepatitisDay, too. If you go the World Hepatitis Alliance website, you can also download free social media graphics that you can customize and share with your friends. The site is rich in other official material, such as logos and posters, that you can use for free for your social posts.
2. Wear Your Support on Your Wrist
Getting a customized wristband is a great way to raise awareness on World Hepatitis Day. As mentioned, the World Hepatitis Alliance website contains the official graphics for the campaign. You can visit the site and download all the logos and graphics you need when you order silicone wristbands from production companies. You can also hand them out to friends or give them away in public. Wristbands are a simple yet effective way on piquing people’s curiosity. You can also choose to have the logo printed on other materials such as shirts, lanyards, and pens.
3. Organize Events in Your Group or Area
If you’re a business leader, it would be a great idea to organize an event within your company. A short talk will help educate employees on the importance of hepatitis screening. The official World Hepatitis Day website also contains information on organizing events. It includes resources that you can copy and paste to ensure consistency in the messaging. You can also look for local partners in your area and seek their assistance in organizing your corporate event. There are at least 250 partner organizations across the world supporting this initiative.
4. Make a Personal or Corporate Donation
Of course, you can also assist in the efforts financially by organizing fundraisers. For business owners, one thing you can do is to match the pledge made by your employees. Any amount will go a long way in raising more awareness.
5. Use the Risk Assessment Tool
One of the campaign tools launched by organizers is a risk assessment test that allows people to check for their risk factors. Once you get your results, you’ll know if you are classified as “at-risk,” or those who are recommended to undergo screening. Regardless of your assessment results, you can print them out and take these to your healthcare provider to serve as a starting point for the screening.
Considering hepatitis takes the lives of over 1.5 million people every year, it’s imperative that we all try to do our part in raising awareness on the disease.