Advocates Aim To Raise Awareness on World Hepatitis Day
To mark the second annual World Hepatitis Day on Tuesday, health officials and patient groups from around the world are hoping to generate greater awareness about a disease that affects more people than HIV or cancer, the Times of India reports (Times of India, 5/19). Over 200 patient groups from more than 50 countries will commemorate the day by asking the question, 'Am I Number 12?' to represent the roughly one in every 12 people worldwide who have hepatitis B or C (World Hepatitis Alliance press release, 5/18).
Hepatitis is characterized by inflammation of the liver, which if left undetected, can lead to liver damage, cancer or death. Though multiple virus strains can cause hepatitis, hepatitis B and C affect the greatest numbers of people and are considered to be the most dangerous. There is a vaccine that offers protection against Hepatitis B, but not C (Times of India, 5/19).
An estimated 500 million people worldwide are living with hepatitis B or C, the News reports (Mahmood, News, 5/19). The Nation reports that more than 12 million people in Pakistan are living with chronic hepatitis B or C. During a press conference on Monday General Secretary Pakistan Medical Association Samrina Hashmi called upon health officials in Islamabad, provincial capitals and in the city government to work together to deal with Pakistan's high rates of hepatitis (Askari, Nation, 5/19).
In an effort to educate the public about hepatitis, health experts invited journalists to learn more about the disease during a one-day workshop in Abjua, Nigeria, the Daily Trust/allAfrica.com reports (Daily Trust/allAfrica.com, 5/15).
Because the spread of the H1N1 (swine flu) virus is taking front stage at the World Health Assembly meeting this week, the planned discussion on a global response to viral hepatitis has been postponed until 2010, Reuters/Washington Post reports (MacInnis, Reuters/Washington Post, 5/18).This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.