Every year the 28th July is World Hepatitis Day.
Started by the World Health Organisation (WHO), the aim of the day is to raise awareness, promote testing, call for access to treatment and better prevention programs, and to encourage action from governments across the globe.
In 2018, Waverley Care joined with campaigners and organisations around the world in an effort to ‘Find the Missing Millions’.
9 out of 10 people around the world living with viral hepatitis are unaware of their infection – around 290 million men women and children.
Here in Scotland the picture is better (but far from perfect) with 15,500 people living with undiagnosed hepatitis C. This represents around 45% of all people living with hepatitis C in Scotland.
The Scottish Government is committed to eliminating hepatitis C as a public health concern in Scotland and, together with other charity organisations, we supported ‘three asks’ to help achieve this:
These asks were highlighted to First Minister, Nicola Sturgeon, in an interview with Scott Ferguson, a recovery development worker at Addictions Support and Counselling in Forth Valley. The asks were also supported by the HepCScot campaign group, which Waverley Care is involved in. A video of their meeting is available below.
Today in Scotland, there are an estimated 34,500 people living with hepatitis C. The condition can lead to serious liver damage and liver cancer but, thanks to effective treatments, it can now be cured. The treatments are highly effective, have few side effects compared to older treatments and can be completed in 8-12 weeks.
Along with the HepCScot partners, we want to encourage people who may have been at risk to access testing and support. You can find out more about the risk factors and links to our testing services here.