Every year on July 28, organizations observe World Hepatitis Day to spread awareness about viral hepatitis. Viral hepatitis is a group of infectious diseases known as hepatitis A, B, C, D, and E that can cause short-term and chronic liver diseases such as cirrhosis and liver cancer. Apart from supporting the global cause, this date also celebrates the birthday of Nobel Peace-prize-winning scientist Dr. Baruch Blumberg who discovered the hepatitis B virus. He is also responsible for developing a diagnostic test and vaccine for the virus.
Even though hepatitis is preventable, treatable, and curable (in the case of hepatitis C), it still accounts for one million deaths each year. The reason for this is that hepatitis B and C don’t show any symptoms until they’re at the advanced level of infection and the risk of complications has also increased. To globally eliminate hepatitis, many organizations ask for individuals to support their cause.
If you’re interested, here are some recommendations on how you can get yourself involved and show your support for World Hepatitis Day.
Promote This Year’s Campaign
One of the simplest ways you can do to support World Hepatitis Day on July 28 is to promote this year’s campaign theme called “I can’t wait.” It focuses on the need of accelerating the fight against viral hepatitis. The campaign aims to spread the importance of testing and treatment for the people who need them the most or those with greater risks of getting exposed such as individuals who use drugs, share needles, work in healthcare setting, or are living with HIV. It also calls to end the stigma and discrimination among individuals who are affected by hepatitis.
To show your support for the campaign, you can wear any merchandise bearing this year’s theme like silicone wristbands, caps, or shirts during a World Hepatitis Day event. Outside the event, wearing such themed items can help pique the interest of other people. If you stumble upon interested individuals, you get the opportunity to discuss the campaign and rally more support.
Volunteer Your Time or Talent
Many organizations hold events during World Hepatitis Day to raise awareness about the disease as well as its screening and treatment. Often, these events are powered by volunteers. If you want to show your support on July 28, volunteering is a good idea. Look for local organizers in your area and find out what you can do to help. They might need people to plan and ensure the event runs smoothly.
If the event will be held in a public space, you can help the organizer contact and inform the local authorities. You can also help with getting permissions and assistance, especially if there will be street rallies. In case you have a specific talent the organizer may need, you can offer that as well. For example, if you’re an artist, you can help produce eye-catching posters and flyers to help get the word out about the campaign or event.
Raise Awareness Online
Even if you can’t physically be on the ground on July 28, there’s a way you can show your support for World Hepatitis Day through social media. Utilizing your social media account increases the number of people you can reach. It’s an effective way to get the news out about events and activities related to World Hepatitis Day.
Getting the right information is just as critical as helping to spread them, so make sure you only refer to a reliable source. For instance, you can download social media graphics from The World Hepatitis Alliance and share them through your social media account.
In addition to the info you share, keep in mind that each platform has its own format. You can maximize your posts differently. Some platforms have character limits so you need to keep your captions concise while others have an audience that prefers visual elements to long captions. In the latter case, focusing on posting images or producing videos is more effective. Also, use the appropriate hashtags like #WorldHepatitisDay to enhance your post’s visibility and keep the online conversation about the event going.
Participating in events and activities on World Hepatitis Day is a fantastic way to show support. However, July 28 isn’t the only time when you can advocate for the cause. You can keep yourself up to date about viral hepatitis and the efforts of various organizations to help end it. You can also visit the website of the World Health Organization and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention for updates about the global campaign and search for details on how else you can help. As you learn more about viral hepatitis and the efforts to eliminate it, you have more details you can share to other people.
Whether you have experience or know someone dealing with viral hepatitis, there are different ways you can show your support for World Hepatitis Day. You can participate or help organize related events and promote the cause through social media. You can even extend your support beyond July 28. As long as you’re passionate about the cause, you have endless opportunities to advocate for the testing, treatment, and global elimination of hepatitis.