Wednesday, July 24, 2013

World Hepatitis Day: Know it, Confront it

Hepatitis is basically a condition in which your liver gets swollen with the inflammation of the liver cells. Liver, the largest gland in the human body helps in the digestion of food, storing energy and vitamins (A, D, K and B12), producing hormones and cholesterol and also helps in removing poisons from the body but hepatitis is a medical condition in which your liver stops working well and can also lead to cirrhosis or even cancer.

Hepatitis is mainly of 5 types which, are caused by virus A, B, C, D and E but mostly the liver damage is caused by the 3 main viruses that are A, B and C.

Hepatitis A is caused by infections usually the infection of food or water (infected by Hepatitis A virus or HAV). Another cause of Hepatitis A is the Anal-oral sex contact. Anyway, anyone who is affected by HAV can be fully recovered.

Hepatitis B is mainly caused due to the sexually transmitted diseases (STD). Caused due to the Hepatitis B virus (HBV) spreads through the contact of infected blood, semen or other body fluids. Unprotected sex, use of infected needles or syringes and feeding of an infected mother's milk can be a few reasons of its spreading. HBV can lead to cancer and a person can face serious damage to his liver.

Hepatitis C is mostly spread due to the direct contact with the blood of an infected person. The chances of having a liver cancer risks only in people who have cirrhosis.

Another point to be noted is that the misuse of anesthesia can also lead to the transmission of Hepatitis A, B and C.

Therefore, to spread this information and to enlighten awareness in the world, The World Hepatitis Day (WHD) is celebrated every year on the 28th of July and this year Hepatitis Day will celebrate its 6th anniversary.

Chronic hepatitis B or C affects more than 500 million people in the world and this number is much more than the Cancer or HIV patients but the awareness about the same is extremely low. This day was launched by World Hepatitis Alliance in 2008 and in 2010 WHO passed resolution WHA63.18 making the efforts of raising awareness, official.

"This is Hepatitis. Know it. Confront it." : According to facts, 1.4 million people in the world are infected by hepatitis A, approximately another 2 billion by hepatitis B and around 150 million more with Hepatitis C. In India, around 4% of the total population is infected by Hepatitis B and around 1% with Hepatitis C. The monotony is that most of them are unaware. Hepatitis is treatable but only after you are aware that you are infected by it and therefore it is very necessary to spread awareness. Get vaccinated and protect yourself. Know it! confront it!

See no Evil, Hear no Evil, Speak no Evil: Hepatitis is being ignored worldwide. Though it is more widespread than Cancer and HIV worldwide, people are still unaware about it. The main focus of this theme is to spread the awareness of Hepatitis in the world.

To generate worldwide participation in this theme, two major events are being conducted across the planet,

"Attempt to break the Guinness world record": Last year on 28th July, World Hepatitis Alliance made a World record with the maximum number of people performing 'see no evil, hear no evil, speak no evil' in 24 hours at various venues. 12,588 people performed from around 42 venues to create awareness of Hepatitis. Around 20 countries were a part of this last year and this year, they are hoping to break their own record and trying to double that number of countries. They are open for anybody and everybody willing to participate. They also want people to set up their own events in the part of the world where they live.

"Three wise monkeys travel the world for Hepatitis Awareness": To promote this theme, the World Hepatitis Alliance has come out with a unique idea of setting up exclusive set of toys, "Three Wise Monkeys". The set of monkeys will travel across the world spreading hepatitis awareness. The organization will be giving one set of these monkeys at each of their member organizations and any of us can also buy these monkey toys. How will we get involved by buying the monkey toys? After we have bought the set of monkey toys, we will then be told to go to the famous sites like the parliament house or other sites of national monuments and click pictures of them with the monkey toys. They will then put these pictures on their exclusive website where a map will also locate the travel journey of these different monkey toys. Our monkeys will wear customized t-shirts with the country flag's logo on it and we will also receive a certificate for their adoption. This is a very creative way of highlighting and spreading the awareness of Hepatitis around the world.

The 'see no evil, hear no evil, speak no evil' is a very unique way of spreading awareness about Hepatitis and all of us can contribute and participate in it on our own levels by gathering the college students within the college.

One out of 12 people in the World are affected by Hepatitis. Lets join in with the World Hepatitis Alliance and be a part of their creative ideas of spreading Hepatitis Awareness.


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