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World Hepatitis Day: A Call For Department of Health To Lead The Way

#WorldHepatitisDay #ThinkHepatitis

On World Hepatitis Day, 25 organisations and individuals from around the world, including Doctors Without Borders, Southern African HIV Clinicians Society and the Treatment Action Campaign have called for the implementation of hepatitis B immunisations at birth and a reform of the national patent laws to promote access to more affordable hepatitis therapies.

“Preventing infant infection is undoubtedly the most important way to reduce the prevalence of the hepatitis B virus,” said Stellenbosch University virologist, Dr. Monique Andersson.

“A safe, effective, and affordable hepatitis B vaccine has been available for over two decades, and remains the backbone of prevention strategies. Yet infants continue to be infected across sub-Saharan Africa because they don’t receive the immunisation early enough.”

Hepatitis B is highly endemic in South Africa and across sub-Saharan Africa, where around 8% of people are chronically infected, and the rates of hepatitis B-related liver cancer are some of the highest in the world. Globally, viral hepatitis causes approximately 1.3 million deaths every year—more than either malaria or tuberculosis—with around 240 million people chronically infected with hepatitis B virus (HBV), and 140 million people with hepatitis C virus (HCV). Either of these viruses can result in liver failure and liver cancer.

According to Doctors Without Borders (MSF) the World Health Organisation recommends infants be given a hepatitis B vaccine within 24 hours to prevent infection in the first weeks of the child’s life. #WorldHepatitisDay #ThinkHepatitis

This “birth dose” reduces mother-to-child transmission of the hepatitis B virus (HBV). Studies in Africa suggest transmission is currently between 2-30% of infants born to HBV-infected mothers. However, in much of sub-Saharan Africa the birth dose has not been implemented and HBV vaccine coverage remains low.

“The DOH needs to set an example for the region,” said Andersson. “It’s time South Africa and other countries add a hepatitis B birth dose to the national immunisation agenda.”

According to the Treatment Action Campaign (TAC) and MSF individuals already infected with hepatitis battle to pay for the drugs they need because of monopoly pricing in the industry. The organisation said effective treatment for hepatitis B is not readily available in the public sector, and could easily cost around R5 000 a month in the private sector. According to the organisations in India cheap generics are available to treat hepatitis B at the cost of just a couple of hundred rand. According to the TAC’s Anele Yawa this is not the case in SA because of the country’s problematic patent laws.

“South Africa doesn’t examine patent applications, so we grant monopolies to companies for things that aren’t new or innovative—patents that other countries wouldn’t grant,” said Yawa. 

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Image Source: www.bpssoutheast.com www.hepatitiscmx.com

Original Source: http://www.sabreakingnews.co.za/2014/07/28/world-hepatitis-day-call-for-hepatitis-vaccines-at-birth/

Author: Natalia Simon

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#ThinkHepatitis #TimeToAccept #TimeToChange – World Hepatitis Day

#WorldHepatitisDay #ThinkHepatitis

Although hepatitis has become one of the most common and severe diseases globally, it currently takes the back seat when it comes to awareness.

This viral disease has made its mark, with almost 1.5 million people being affected and killed by either hepatitis A, B, C, D or E. It has long- and short-term effects and hepatitis A, C and D can cause life threatening complications to those infected.

The World Hepatitis Alliance has taken a hands-on approach to create much needed awareness of this disease, with the aim of changing people’s mindset on how they view hepatitis. Their main objective is to get people all over the world involved by making available very creative and interactive tools to encourage groups to host their own World Hepatitis Day event.

#WorldHepatitisDay #ThinkHepatitisThe tools are available on the World Hepatitis Alliance website at http://www.worldhepatitisalliance.org/en/ and can be downloaded and edited to fit in with any hepatitis awareness concept. The tools include customisable posters, logos and toolkits to help you through the process of delivering an informative hepatitis event to bring awareness of this disease. To make it even more user friendly and reach a wider audience, the toolkits are available in seven languages.

The main purpose with this year’s theme is “Hepatitis: Think Again” and with the customisable posters, it will be easy to select a poster to fit in with your event or campaign.

The awareness is mainly aimed at highlighting symptoms, prevention, treatment, vaccination and taking action.

As a model of inspiration, The World Hepatitis Alliance will be hosting a mammoth event, #ThinkHepatitis, that will be taking place on 27 and 29 July 2014 and will coincide with the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow. To raise awareness on hepatitis, the largest LED screen in the world will be used, displaying an interactive Twitter Wall as well as illustration of bricks that represent all the negative aspects that affect those living with hepatitis.

#WorldHepatitisDay #ThinkHepatitis“Every time someone sends a tweet with the campaign hashtag #ThinkHepatitis, a brick will turn around to reveal a positive truth, challenging people’s preconceptions about viral hepatitis. Just one tweet can change a wall of stigma and suffering into messages of strength and hope.” – World Hepatitis Alliance

We have taken ownership as being proudly South African, so let us #ThinkHepatitis, because it is #TimeToAccept the challenge and its #TimeToChange the world.

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Information Source: http://www.worldhepatitisalliance.org/en/

Author – Lynnqwinda Scott Social Media and Communications Co-Ordinator Get Savvi Health