News and Educations

World Hepatitis Day – 28 July 2016


World Hepatitis Day is observed every year on 28 July. The official global public health campaign for this international health awareness day is marked by the World Health Organization (WHO) and coordinated by the World Hepatitis Alliance.

World Hepatitis Day and the accompanying campaign are dedicated to the strengthening of awareness about hepatitis - acute or chronic inflammatory liver disease caused by viruses A, B, C, D and E - as a global public health issue, but also a wider social and economic problem, as well as to encouraging its prevention, diagnosis and treatment. Hundreds of millions of people worldwide live with hepatitis; globally, between 130 and 150 million people have chronic hepatitis C infection, whereas approximately 240 million people have chronic hepatitis B infection, and various forms of hepatitis cause more than 1.4 million deaths each year. According to the Croatian Institute of Public Health (HZJZ), more than 40,000 people in Croatia are ill with hepatitis C, and about 25,000 with hepatitis B. In the recent years, there are about 200 newly diagnosed cases of hepatitis C and a similar number of newly diagnosed cases of hepatitis B on annual level.

Infection with Hepatitis B can be successfully prevented with vaccination, whereas chronic hepatitis C can today be cured thanks to medicinal products of new generation. We remind that the Croatian Health Insurance Fund (HZZO) introduced three medicinal products for treatment of chronic hepatitis C, which achieve high cure rates, in its primary list of medicinal products in July 2015.

The slogan of this year's World Hepatitis Day global campaign is "Know hepatitis - act now". This year, the emphasis of the campaign is on activities related to WHO's new Global Health Sector Strategy on Viral Hepatitis 2016-2021, aimed at eliminating viral hepatitis as a major global public health threat until 2030, as well as at achieving the following global goals until 2020: the reduction of the number of new cases of hepatitis B and C for 30 %, the reduction of mortality for 10 %, the increase of percentage of diagnosed cases of chronic hepatitis from the current 5 % to 30 % as well as considerable improvements in prevention and treatment of people ill with hepatitis.

The activities on the occasion of the World Hepatitis Day are also conducted throughout Croatia, organized by health institutions and civil society organizations. The slogan and key messages of this year's WHO campaign are main guidelines of the national public health educational campaign "Stop hepatitis B and C", carried out by the Croatian Association for HIV and Viral Hepatitis (HUHIV) and supported by the Ministry of Health, Croatian Institute of Public Health, Croatian Health Insurance Fund, University Hospital for Infectious Diseases "Dr. Fran Mihaljević", Croatian Red Cross and Croatian Pharmaceutical Society. Additionally, an expert symposium dedicated to viral hepatitis will be held on 28 July at the University Hospital for Infectious Diseases "Dr. Fran Mihaljević".

The observance of the fight against hepatitis began in 2004 with the day dedicated to the raising of awareness of hepatitis C, and several observance initiatives were integrated in 2008. Since 2010 the World Hepatitis Day has been observed on 28 July, the date of birth of Baruh S. Blumberg, American scientist who identified hepatitis B and developed its vaccine - the achievements for which he received the Nobel prize in 1976.