Global Hepatitis Programme
Recognizing the tremendous burden caused by viral hepatitis, the World Health Assembly adopted resolution WHA63.18 in 2010, calling for a comprehensive approach to the prevention and control of viral hepatitis.
Following the resolution, WHO established the Global Hepatitis Programme with the following goals:
- To reduce the transmission of agents that cause viral hepatitis;
- To reduce the morbidity and mortality due to viral hepatitis through improving the care of patients with viral hepatitis; and
- To reduce the socio-economic impact of viral hepatitis at individual, community and population levels.
A framework for global action
The Global Hepatitis Programme has launched its strategy to prevent and control viral hepatitis infection.
World Hepatitis Day, 28 July
The official WHO World Hepatitis Day is marked to increase the awareness and understanding of viral hepatitis and the diseases that it causes.
General information on hepatitis
Hepatitis is an inflammation of the liver, most commonly caused by a viral infection. There are five main hepatitis viruses, referred to as types A, B, C, D and E. These five types are of greatest concern because of the burden of illness and death they cause and the potential for outbreaks and epidemic spread. In particular, types B and C lead to chronic disease in hundreds of millions of people and, together, are the most common cause of liver cirrhosis and cancer.
Hepatitis A and E are typically caused by ingestion of contaminated food or water. Hepatitis B, C and D usually occur as a result of parenteral contact with infected body fluids. Common modes of transmission for these viruses include receipt of contaminated blood or blood products, invasive medical procedures using contaminated equipment and for hepatitis B transmission from mother to baby at birth, from family member to child, and also by sexual contact.
Acute infection may occur with limited or no symptoms, or may include symptoms such as jaundice (yellowing of the skin and eyes), dark urine, extreme fatigue, nausea, vomiting and abdominal pain.