Today, the World Hepatitis Alliance (WHA) launched this year’s World Hepatitis Day campaign entitled “Find the Missing Millions”.
Under the theme of “Eliminate Hepatitis”, this year’s campaign focuses on the importance of screening and linkage to care and calls on all individuals and organisations to take action to find the 300 million people living with viral hepatitis unaware.
“9 out of 10 people living with viral hepatitis don’t know” said Michael Ninburg, President of World Hepatitis Alliance. “Without a massive scale-up in diagnosis, treatment rates will fall, infection rates will rise and our opportunity to eliminate viral hepatitis by 2030 will be lost.”
The campaign underscores the point that irrespective of gender, age group, ethnicity or geography, millions of people are living with viral hepatitis unaware, and unless detected and treated, it can cause liver disease, cirrhosis and liver cancer.
The launch of the Find the Missing Millions campaign on World Hepatitis Day marks the beginning of a wider three-year awareness-raising and advocacy campaign, and provides an opportunity to present WHA’s latest research on diagnosis. The ‘Overcoming the barriers to diagnosis: The role of people living with viral hepatitis in finding the missing millions’ white paper will highlight the key barriers to diagnosis and present recommendations on how civil society groups can help overcome them. The white paper is a culmination of a global survey and stakeholder consultation led by the World Hepatitis Alliance.
The Find the Missing Millions campaign aims to progress the WHO goal of diagnosing 90% of people living with viral hepatitis by 2030, through education, influencing national testing policies and encouraging people to get screened and/or become advocates in the quest to find the undiagnosed.