World Hepatitis Day 2020 in the Americas
A summary of World Hepatitis Alliance members’ World Hepatitis Day activities in the WHO Americas region
Celebrating World Hepatitis Day in the Americas
Despite restrictions on movement and large gatherings, World Hepatitis Alliance (WHA) members in the WHO Americas region were able to effectively raise awareness online and in the media. A number of organisations ran successful advocacy campaigns.
About hepatitis and the World Hepatitis Alliance in the WHO Americas region
Almost 10 million people are affected by chronic viral hepatitis in the Americas, with 4.4 million people living with hepatitis B and 5.4 million living with hepatitis C1. More than 44,000 people die as a result of viral hepatitis or related complications in the region each year1. Though more than half of countries in the region have national hepatitis plans, access to more advanced laboratory testing for viral hepatitis and access to treatment for hepatitis C using Direct-Acting Antivirals (DAAs) is limited.2
The World Hepatitis Alliance has 70 members across 12 countries in the WHO Americas region. These members work tirelessly to advocate for hepatitis elimination, to raise awareness, and to deliver testing and vaccination services in a range of contexts. You can find out more about them on the World Hepatitis Alliance’s website.
1 Data: CDA Foundation’s Polaris Observatory; 2020 [updated on 17 April 2020], Accessed 17 August 2020
- Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) released campaign materials for “HepFreeFuture” campaign, including materials on COVID-19 and hepatitis.
- National Ministry of Health of Argentina shared the guidelines of the Hepatitis Eradication Plan for the Argentine Republic.
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) published their efforts to help combat hepatitis globally
Member activity: Canada
Hepatitis Outreach Society of Nova Scotia (Hep NS)
Hepatitis Outreach Society of Nova Scotia (Hep NS) promoted World Hepatis Day on their social media, raising awareness of the 2030 elimination goals. The society participated in the ‘Find the Missing Millions’ campaign and shared Canada’s efforts to increase testing and find the missing millions.
Member activity: Colombia
Asociacion Norte Santandereana de Hepatitis Virales
Asociacion Norte Santandereana de Hepatitis Virales attended virtual training events before and during the day organized by the Columbian Ministry of Health, WHO PAHO offices, and others.
They published a press release regarding hepatitis in the region, as well as an article about hepatitis C in Colombia. Association representatives spoke at a regional meeting on the current hepatitis C situation in the country, and at-risk groups.
Working with other foundations, they distributed humanitarian aid to at-risk groups, such as people who inject drugs (PID) and female sex workers.
In collaboration with HepaRed, they launched a promotional video for World Hepatitis Day, and an interview on the topic of hepatitis C.
The #WHDRelay has reached Colombia! To achieve elimination, Hepatitis Virales Colombia believe we must:
— World Hepatitis Alliance (@Hep_Alliance) July 28, 2020
Member activity: United States
Hepatitis B Initiative of Washington DC (HBI-DC)
Even amid a pandemic, HBI-DC still found a way to reach their target communities. To mark the day, they held a Zoom Webinar about hepatitis B in English and Twi languages.
Hep Free Hawaii
For World Hepatitis Day 2020, Hep Free Hawaii released “Hep Free 2030: The Hawai`i Hepatitis Elimination Strategy 2020-2030” to share the priorities, directions, and opportunities for their communities to eliminate hepatitis in Hawai`i. They held an online event marking the launch of Hep Free Hawaii ten-year strategy, for which they secured support from Senator Mazie Hirono, Senator Brian Schatz and Hawaii Lieutenant Governor Josh Green.
Hep Free Hawaii curated a suite of materials to help raise awareness of the day and the new strategy, including a social media toolkit and a Facebook frame.
The Bonnie Morgan Foundation for HCV
The Bonnie Morgan Foundation for HCV raised awareness on twitter by sharing patient stories and messages about the importance of getting tested.
The foundation President, Kimberly Nash, shared a personal story about her struggle with fatigue and insomnia while battling hepatitis C, and shared advice on how to get enough rest.
Liver Health Connection
Liver Health Connection ran a social media campaign on Facebook and Instagram to raise awareness of the importance of testing and vaccination to achieve 2030 elimination goals. They encouraged their followers to schedule a free hepatitis C test and find out their status.
Member activity: Uruguay
APAHE marked the day with a social media campaign in which they shared ‘Find the Missing Millions’ materials with their local audiences.
In addition, APAHE participated in a number of online events, raising awareness and advocating for a future free of hepatitis.