This is hepatitis. … Know it. Confront it
Countries across the WHO European Region highlighted the threat from this silent epidemic on World Hepatitis Day, 28 July 2013. The group of infectious diseases known as hepatitis A, B, C, D and E affects hundreds of millions of people worldwide and kills close to 1.4 million each year.
The Ministry of Health marked World Hepatitis Day with a press release and an article on its web site to launch the new WHO global framework for action.
World Hepatitis Day was part of a two-month information and screening campaign, organized by the National Association for the Fight against Hepatitis (Hepasisst). A press conference was held; a nine-minute information video was launched and, later in July, free, anonymous screening was offered in city centres.
A campaign was launched focusing on the main challenges facing the country: lack of access to hepatitis C treatment due to the high price of medication, and the need for a national programme and increased awareness of ways to prevent infection. Nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) appealed to pharmaceutical companies to lower prices and organized meetings between patient groups, health care professionals and pharmaceutical companies. The campaign was widely highlighted in the mass media and a roundtable meeting was held involving NGOs, government officials and health experts.
Four different institutions offered free testing for hepatitis B and C during the week of World Hepatitis Day. This opportunity was publicized in the media.
Sokolniki Park in Moscow was the venue for an awareness-raising publicity stunt in which more than 100 people gathered and mimed the three wise monkeys (hear no evil, see no evil, speak no evil) to communicate the message that hepatitis is being ignored and needs urgent attention. In addition, there were bicycle rides through one of the biggest central squares in Moscow, interactive games and sporting events and competitions.
The Slovenian campaign set out to raise awareness of the potential risk of infection and to promote testing. A press release, posters and information for family doctors were distributed. There was a great deal of media attention, because a high-profile political figure announced publicly that he had been infected with hepatitis C via a blood transfusion some 20 years previously.
Two articles were published in scientific medical journals. One, by Professor Francesco Negro in “Schweizerische Ärztezeitung”, focused on raising awareness among primary care doctors about which patients could be at higher risk, and the other, in “Swiss Medical Weekly”, addressed testing.
The former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia
On the beautiful beaches of the city of Ohrid, free testing was offered, accompanied by an awareness-raising event where famous musicians entertained the public. There was extensive media coverage, including the national television news, and a panel discussion was held, led by Professor Dr Rosalind Isijanovska of the Municipal Red Cross.
Two of the largest NGOs in the field, Stop Hepatitis and the International HIV/AIDS Alliance, worked with state institutions to organize a range of public events. A press conference was held, a special hepatitis telephone hotline established and free testing provided in 30 cities. The WHO Country Office, Ukraine assessed the viral hepatitis situation in the country.
United Kingdom (Scotland)
Five charities joined forces with the National Health Service to plan and coordinate a campaign across Scotland for World Hepatitis Day. For a month before the awareness day, advertisements were posted on the sides of city buses, urging former injecting drug users to be tested for hepatitis. rug use is implicated in 90% of cases of infection in Scotland. There were also a web site and a text-back service. In addition, a two-metre-high, red aluminium letter C was moved around key parts of major cities to raise awareness and interest. There were widespread media interest, a family event and a sports day.