CPS: World Hepatitis Day “One Life, One Liver”

July 31, 2023 11:57 am

GREAT BAY, Sint Maarten (DCOMM) – Friday, July 28 is World Hepatitis Day (WHD) with the theme, “One Life, One Liver.” The World Health Organization (WHO) day of international observance says, “You’ve only got one life, and you’ve only got one liver. Hepatitis can devastate both.

“Your liver silently performs over 500 vital functions every single day to keep you alive. But viral hepatitis infection is also silent, with symptoms only appearing once the disease is advanced. Although there are many different types of hepatitis viruses (A to E), hepatitis B and C are the most concerning and cause nearly 8000 new infections every day, which are mostly going undetected.

“The result? Over one million hepatitis-related deaths every single year – and one new chronic infection every ten seconds. And that’s why liver health is fundamental to human health.

“So many hepatitis deaths could be prevented. Because there are vaccines and effective treatments for hepatitis B and even a cure for hepatitis C - you CAN protect yourself and your loved ones.” – World Health Organization (WHO)

The Collective Prevention Services (CPS) from the Ministry of Public Health, Social Development and Labour (Ministry VSA) is calling on the public to speak with their healthcare provider to find out how to protect yourself from hepatitis.

Hepatitis, an inflammation of the liver that can lead to serious disease and death, affects over 10 million people in the Americas, according to the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO).

While hepatitis can become chronic, it can be effectively controlled with medicines if detected in time.

In the Americas, however, just 18% of those with hepatitis B and 22% of those with hepatitis C are aware they have the condition. And of these, just 3% of those with hepatis B and 18% with hepatitis C receive treatment. This is primarily due to continued underinvestment in diagnostics and hepatitis medicines, which, in the case of hepatitis C, can treat the disease in just 12 weeks.

World Hepatitis Day is observed every year on the 28 July to reflect on progress and achievements in the fight against hepatitis, as well as on opportunities to address the gaps in efforts to eliminate the disease as a public health concern.

CPS is calling on the community to prioritize liver health and know your hepatitis status.