World Health Assembly Forced to Postpone Decision on Viral Hepatitis
- Global Epidemic Kills One Person Every 30 Seconds and One Million People Will Die Before the World Health Assembly Meets Again in 2010
Ahead of the second annual World Hepatitis Day, the World Hepatitis Alliance today called on governments not to forget the plight of 500 million people living with hepatitis B and C, as the World Health Assembly postpones discussion of a World Health Organization (WHO) resolution on viral hepatitis - one of the biggest threats to global health.
The 62nd World Health Assembly, starting in
Chronic viral hepatitis B and C affects one in 12 people globally and approximately one person dies every 30 seconds, meaning that one million people will die before the World Health Assembly next meets in 2010. Since the hepatitis B and C viruses were first discovered in 1967 and 1988 respectively, there has not been a single WHO resolution that fully addresses the challenges of the global epidemic.
19 May marks the second World Hepatitis Day, and over 200 patient groups from more than 50 countries have been recognising the day by asking the question 'Am I Number 12?' - an awareness raising campaign aimed at highlighting the shocking statistic that one in 12 people worldwide are living with either chronic hepatitis B or chronic hepatitis C. While this is far higher than the prevalence of HIV or any cancer, awareness is inexplicably low and the majority of those infected are unaware.
Did You Know? - Approximately 500 million people worldwide are currently infected with hepatitis B or C(1) - This is over 10 times the number infected with HIV/AIDS(2) - Between them, hepatitis B and C kill one million people a year(1) - One in every three people on the planet has been exposed to either or both viruses - Most of the 500 million infected do not know
Messages of Support for the World Hepatitis Alliance
The following people have provided quotes expressing their support to the World Hepatitis Alliance campaign for a WHO resolution on viral hepatitis. For further information please contact firstname.lastname@example.org
- Dr. Michael Houghton, co-discoverer of the hepatitis C virus - Prof. Baruch Blumberg, Nobel Laureate, co-discoverer of the hepatitis B virus and co-inventor of the hepatitis B vaccine - Prof. Muhammad Yunus, Nobel Laureate and global Economist
World Hepatitis Alliance
The World Hepatitis Alliance provides global leadership and supports action that will halt the death toll and improve the lives of people living with chronic viral hepatitis B and C. Through better awareness, prevention, care, support and access to treatment, our ultimate goal is to work with governments to eradicate these diseases from the planet.
The World Hepatitis Alliance is a Non-Governmental Organisation
representing more than 200 hepatitis B and C patient groups from around the
world. The World Hepatitis Alliance is governed by a representative board
elected by patient groups from seven world regions:
World Hepatitis Alliance - Seeking a world without viral hepatitis B and C.
World Hepatitis Day
The second annual World Hepatitis Day will take place on Tuesday
(1)World Health Organization. Viral hepatitis: Report by the Secretariat.
(2) World Health Organization. Global summary of the AIDS epidemic.
A picture accompanying this release is available on AP Archive: http://photoarchive.ap.org
SOURCE World Hepatitis Alliance
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