A message from WHA president, Danjuma Adda
28 July World Hepatitis Day 2022
We can’t wait for a world free of hepatitis.
I am living with hepatitis B and I lost my mother to hepatitis C. She was diagnosed too late. If my mother had been diagnosed sooner my mother would probably be alive today.
I became a hepatitis advocate as I didn’t want others to suffer the same pain I had at losing my mother. I realised that, as a community, we need to raise awareness of this life-threatening disease. We needed to change the narrative about hepatitis.
Globally more than 350 million people are still living with viral hepatitis. The gains made to eliminate hepatitis have been uneven across the world, with those most impacted often the least likely to benefit.
Most countries have failed to meet their Global Health Sector Strategy 2020 targets. Few babies have access to the hepatitis B birth dose vaccine in many low- and middle-income countries, with less than 10% in Africa receiving a timely vaccine. This vaccine costs just 20 cents. It would save the lives of millions of Africans.
Stigma and discrimination continue to be a barrier to testing and care. Only one in ten people with hepatitis know they have it and even fewer receive treatment.
Liver cancer related to hepatitis is on the rise around the world, especially in low- and middle-income countries.
These figures are unacceptable.
Governments and global funders are turning a blind eye to the 1.1 million deaths each year and the continued impacts on communities across the world.
We will no longer accept their excuses.
It takes courage to speak out, but this World Hepatitis Day we come together globally to say “I can’t wait” for an end to hepatitis and urge policy makers, global funders, and decision makers to act.
One of us dies every 30 seconds from a hepatitis related illness. We cannot wait any longer for action.
People unaware that they’re living with viral hepatitis can’t wait for testing
People living with hepatitis can’t wait for life saving treatments
Expectant mothers can’t wait for hepatitis screening and treatment
Newborn babies can’t wait for birth dose vaccination
People affected by hepatitis can’t wait to end stigma and discrimination
Community organisations can’t wait for greater investment
Decision makers can’t wait and must act now to make hepatitis elimination a reality through political will and funding.
At our recent World Hepatitis Summit, the Director-General of the World Health Organisation (WHO), Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus stated, “there are few diseases that we can realistically dream of eliminating, but hepatitis is one of them.”
It is now within our reach to make this dream a reality. World Hepatitis Day is the next milestone on our journey towards hepatitis elimination.
I wish you a successful World Hepatitis Day. Thank you for your commitment. I can’t wait for a world free from hepatitis, and hepatitis Can’t Wait!
President, World Hepatitis Alliance