World Hepatitis Day (WHD) is recognized every year on July 28th to bring awareness and encourage global action on the burden of viral hepatitis. The 2022 WHD theme is “I Can’t Wait.”
Explorations in Leadership course
There are many ways you can get involved with WHD, including PAN’s new self-guided online course “Explorations in Leadership” for people with lived experience of hepatitis C. The purpose of this course is to provide you with an opportunity to explore what leadership means to you, who you are as a leader, and how to strengthen your abilities as a leader. Listen and learn from other people with experience of hep C as you build your awareness, skills, and action. The course is broken down into sections with lessons that contain a combination of video, audio, image, and text media to present the information.
We encourage you to dive into this training experience. The more involved you are, the greater chance for insight into yourself as a leader. At the same time, go at your own pace. You might decide that doing a bit each day or week works best. Or you might choose to work continuously and complete the course within a matter of days. Take good care of yourself along the way by taking breaks, getting rest and nutrition. For more information, or to register for the free online course, click here.
Action in Canada
If you want to look to what’s happening across the country, Action Hepatitis Canada (AHC) is a national coalition of organizations responding to viral hepatitis – providing community accountability on Canada’s commitment to eliminate viral hepatitis as a public health threat by 2030. According to the AHC’s most recent progress report, an estimated 250,000 Canadians are living with hepatitis C and while British Columbia is considered “on track” to meeting elimination goals, we are still considered “significantly off track” in the areas of elimination planning and hepatitis C Testing-to-Treatment linking.
Across the World
For a global perspective, the World Health Organization (WHO) reports that an estimated 58 million people globally have chronic hep C virus (HCV) infection, which can cause both acute and chronic illness ranging in severity. In June 2022, WHO released updated viral hepatitis elimination targets, including simplified service delivery and task sharing that recommends testing and treatment availability in primary care, at harm reduction sites, and in prisons with care being provided by general practitioners and nurses, rather than specialists. They also recommend more efficient and simplified testing procedures, especially for marginalized populations such as people who inject drugs, and communities with limited access to health care and high rates of loss to follow-up.
The WHO’s Global Health Sector Strategies for 2022-2030 for HIV, viral hepatitis, and sexually transmitted infections for the period 2022-2030 also recognizes that “different population have unique health needs and circumstances,” which require health systems to “promote tailored responses that recognize and respond to the lived experiences of the people who occupy one or more of these groups.”
To learn more about hepatitis C and how you can take part and make a difference, visit www.worldhepatitisday.org or search hashtags such as #HepCantWait, #WorldHepatitisDay, #ICantWait and #CANHEPDAY on social media.