Hepatitis is one of the leading causes of death from infectious diseases globally. In a statement released by the Ghana Health Service, Ghana has a relatively high prevalence of chronic hepatitis B and C virus infections. Between 2014 and 2018, 421 people died out of a total of 117,095 hepatitis cases. In spite of this, there is still low public awareness about the risks and dangers of hepatitis. Duty bearers, from the media to the general public, have been slow to action in addressing hepatitis. This is why the commemorative day of World Hepatitis Day is important. This day is observed to raise global awareness on the group of infectious diseases, encourage prevention, diagnosis and treatment.
This year’s theme in particular, “Find the Missing Millions” sheds light on the over 300 million people worldwide who are living with viral hepatitis and are unaware. Many lives are lost because they are undiagnosed and not linked to the proper care. In 2016, countries in the world came together to eliminate viral hepatitis by 2030 and as of 2019, only 12 countries are on track to do this. Viral hepatitis kills more people that HIV/AIDS or Malaria even though there is a cure for hepatitis C and a vaccine and effective treatment for hepatitis B. The 4,000 deaths worldwide caused by viral hepatitis are preventable. This day not only serves as a reminder of the necessity of educating the Ghanaians but also acts as a call to action for stakeholders globally in raising awareness about hepatitis.