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What is World Hepatitis Day?
World Hepatitis Day is an annual event that each year provides international focus for patient groups and people living with hepatitis B and C. It is an opportunity around which interested groups can raise awareness and influence real change in disease prevention and access to testing and treatment.
The World Hepatitis Alliance first launched World Hepatitis Day in 2008, and since then thousands of events have taken place around the world, generating massive public and media interest. The Alliance has also received support from governments worldwide, high-profile Non-Governmental Organisations (NGOs) and supranational bodies, such as Médecins Sans Frontières.
Following the World Health Assembly in May 2010, it was agreed that World Hepatitis Day would be recognised annually on 28 July.
In Canada, there is currently no national strategy or comprehensive system for care, treatment and prevention of hepatitis B and C. This is unacceptable for a country that prides itself on its publicly-funded universal health care system. To reduce the health and social impact of hepatitis B and C on the liver health of Canadians, we ask federal, provincial and territorial governments to adopt a fully- funded and coordinated national strategy that:
- Promotes prevention of both hepatitis B and C through expanded education, immunization and harm reduction programs all across Canada.
- Improves access to comprehensive care and treatment programs in all areas of the country.
- Increases knowledge and innovation through interdisciplinary research and surveillance to reduce the burden of both hepatitis B and C on Canadians.
- Creates awareness about risk factors, stigma and the need for testing among the general population and at-risk groups.
- Builds capacity through training and recruitment of qualified health professionals.
- Supports communities and community-based groups in developing, delivering and evaluating peer-driven and focused initiatives.
Action Hepatitis Canada (formely known as Canadian Coalition of Organizations Responding to Hepatitis B and C) advocates for such a national strategy to be created and implemented. To learn more about the Coalition and its actions, please visit the web site www.actionhepatitiscanada.ca