Viral Hepatitis and the Campaign to Find the Missing Millions
Published: 14 August 2018
Published: 14 August 2018
Globally, 325 million people are living with viral hepatitis but it is estimated that 300 million are unaware they have the disease.
The World Hepatitis Alliance wants the campaign to ‘influence national testing policies and encourage people to get screened and/or become advocates in the quest to find the undiagnosed.’
Nurses are well positioned to support the campaign objectives to:
(World Hepatitis Alliance 2018)
Viral hepatitis is inflammation of the liver caused by a virus. There are five types of hepatitis viruses: hepatitis A, B, C, D and E.
Viral hepatitis is one of the biggest global health threats of our time, according to the World Health Organisation. 1.34 million deaths a year and 2 out of 3 liver cancer deaths are caused by this silent epidemic. Children and marginalised communities are most likely to be at risk.
But, despite the scale of the challenge, the World Hepatitis Alliance explains that there are now strong foundations to eliminate viral hepatitis as:
* – a set of 17 Global Goals set in 2015 by the United Nations
Australia is one of the countries which has already reached WHO’s interim diagnosis target, for Hepatitis B and Hepatitis C, of 30% by 2020. The UK has not yet reached this target.
Raising awareness and understanding of the disease and improving access to diagnosis, treatment and care is key to increasing diagnostic rates and building on these foundations.
The World Hepatitis Alliance is keen to encourage nurses, along with other healthcare workers, to play their part by:
Nurses have a very important role in addressing this global health threat by helping find and advocate for the missing millions.
In the UK, the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE), ‘NICE Testing Guideline for Hepatitis B and C’ recommends nurses should engage in the following activities:
You can find out more about the Finding the Missing Millions Campaign along with further resources, and campaign materials at the World Hepatitis Alliance’s website.
Catherine Smith is a Nurse Practitioner who runs an holistic weight loss clinic in Brisbane and who has worked within the obesity sector for several years. As well, she has many years experience as a nurse educator. For the past 25 years, Catherine has been a registered nurse, working in intensive care and perioperative areas. Currently, she works as a perioperative nurse surgical assistant with general, gynaecology, and bariatric surgeons. Over the past several years, Catherine has served on nursing association committees, including the Obesity Map of Medicine redevelopment working group. See Educator Profile