World Hepatitis Day occurs annually on July 28th, the birthday of Dr. Baruch Blumberg (1925–2011). Dr. Blumberg discovered the hepatitis B virus in 1967 and 2 years later developed the first hepatitis B vaccine.
On World Hepatitis Day, organizations around the world, including WHO and the CDC, raise awareness about viral hepatitis. This day brings education around the disease state, creates awareness on the number of people affected by it, and discusses what can be done to prevent future infections. In this blog we discuss ways that you can spread awareness and advocate for your patients on World Hepatitis Day at your pharmacy.
Why is World Hepatitis Day Important?
1. It’s a global epidemic
Hepatitis doesn’t have a regional hotspot or particular population with a higher vulnerability. Instead, it can occur anywhere. This disease state also has numerous routes of transmission. Because of this, it is important to have a day for worldwide awareness and education.
2. Sustaining the Prevention Progress
The world has made remarkable progress in minimizing the disease spread in the past century. At this time, the five types of Hepatitis are treatable or preventable. Through pharmacists raising awareness on this day, further progress can be made.
3. Lack of Awareness Among the Victims
Many people infected with Hepatitis are unaware. During this day, however, there is a chance to test, educate and enlighten the public and those that may be unknowingly affected.
Critical Timelines for Hepatitis Awareness
- 1981. Plasma-derived vaccine approval by FDA for Hepatitis use in the humans
- 1986. Vaccines improvement through genetic engineering for the treatment and control of Hepatitis.
- May 2010. Recognition of the world hepatitis day in the 63rd World Health Assembly.
World Hepatitis Day Participation Tips for Pharmacies
a) Testing. One of the best ways to participate in World Hepatitis Day is to encourage testing or provide education around testing.
b) Interprofessional collaboration. Joining professionals from other fields to raise awareness and educate the public on crucial matters, like hepatitis, is extremely beneficial.
c) Independent Awareness Campaign. Where finding an event might be challenging, you can still plan with your facility and hold one for your local community and the accessible population. Activities you may consider for the day include having a fundraising walk/run, a lunch and learn meal, providing educational pamphlets at the pharmacy.
d) Getting Social. Joining the campaign on social media can allow you to read an even wider audience. It is also a great idea to use hashtags like #HepAware, #WorldHepatitisDay, and #hepatitis, among others. You can also follow the CDC’s Hepatitis resource on Twitter @cdchep or health and human services @HHS_ViralHep to get helpful information like:
- Hepatitis resources, tools, publications, campaign updates, and events.
- Viral Hepatitis Action Plan
- Federal hepatitis actions and resources
Not sure where to start with social media? There are many free template for World Hepatitis Day social media images on canva that make life easy or our digital marketing team would be happy to help you get started.
e) Create and Share Videos. Videos are one of the most effective ways of educating and raising awareness among people regarding a health matter. Pharmacists can utilize this tool to reach people and create awareness regarding the disease. This can even be just a quick live video on your facebook or instagram story to spread awareness.
Other activities that one might undertake on the WHD are:
- Joining and supporting the viral hepatitis strategic plan
- Utilizing the CDC’s educational materials
- Using CDC’s digital tools and logo on Hepatitis during WHD.
- Assessment of personal health first and acting to eliminate risks
- Prevention Education
We cannot wait to raise awareness with you on July 28th as we all work together to create a world free of viral hepatitis.