A message from WHA president, Dr Su Wang ahead of World Hepatitis Day 2021

26 Jul 2021 Chris Wingrove

 

Throughout my own journey of finding out in college I have hepatitis B.
Pursuing my studies to be a physician. Caring for people with hepatitis,
Coming out about my own diagnosis and now, speaking out for those living with hepatitis around the world-
I continue to be shocked by the lack of action in the fight against hepatitis.

There are more than 350 million people living with viral hepatitis.
One of us dies every 30 seconds as a consequence of hepatitis.
 
The lack of commitment and financial support from national governments, global donors, development funds, policy makers, research and healthcare institutions tells us that they have accepted these deaths which could’ve been avoided.
 
We are being told that our lives aren’t worth saving. 
We can't wait any longer for action and it’s time for things to change.
 
The opportunity to eliminate a disease as a public health threat is rare. But for viral hepatitis, it is within our grasp. With the vaccine and treatments against hepatitis B and the cure for hepatitis C, we eliminate hepatitis by 2030. We must work together and ensure no one is left behind.
 
The 350 million people living with hepatitis can't keep waiting.
 
The 290 million who are yet to be diagnosed can’t keep waiting to be tested and linked to care.
 
Those who need treatment can’t keep waiting for access to life saving treatment while their risk of liver cancer increases by the day.
 
People who inject drugs can't wait for effective harm reduction programmes.
 
Pregnant women can't wait for testing and treatment.
 
Our babies can't wait for the hepatitis B birth dose vaccination.
 
We cannot give the next generation an epidemic we could’ve prevented.
 
Now is the time for the hepatitis community to speak in one voice and tell the world that hepatitis can't wait.
 
We will no longer accept the excuses that have been given by governments and global funders who are turning a blind eye to the millions of deaths each year and the continued suffering of communities across the world.
 
Hepatitis Can't Wait.
 
I know that our hepatitis community will rise up and utilise every opportunity to raise awareness on July 28, 2021.
 
Even if the COVID-19 pandemic has hampered plans, I know that the power of the community is in our resilience and determination to overcome adversity.
 
World Hepatitis Day is our day. As an amazingly diverse community from all walks of life, all over the world—
It is our day to tell the world about viral hepatitis.
 
It is our day to tell the world it is time to care about us- people living with and affected by hepatitis-
we could be your family member,
your loved ones,
your children or
it could be yourself-
and it is time to act
 
As we reflect on the millions of loved ones we have lost to hepatitis, we cannot let their deaths be in vain.
 
This World Hepatitis Day 2021 must be a catalyst for global action, we need to  grow the momentum and we must eliminate hepatitis.
 
Thank you for your commitment, and I wish you a highly successful World Hepatitis Day.
 
Dr Su Wang
President, World Hepatitis Alliance