Principle two: Raise awareness
You raise awareness among key audiences of viral hepatitis as a human and economic issues, and the urgent need to act.
You raise awareness of the burden of viral hepatitis, as well as the positive impact of diagnosis and treatment, among peers, partners and the public. Through sharing data and stories, you create both motivation and a sense of urgency.
Key stakeholders – including fellow medical professionals, partners, patients and the public – must understand the human and economic impact of viral hepatitis to be motivated to drive change.
Viral hepatitis is a global killer responsible for 1.4 million deaths a year. Chronic hepatitis B and hepatitis C are life-threatening infectious diseases that cause serious liver damage, cancer, and premature death, with 257 million and 71 million people living with hepatitis B and hepatitis C, respectively.
Eliminating hepatitis B and hepatitis C as public health threats by 2030
- Will save approximately 10 million lives
- Will reduce inequalities and enhance lives, ensuring healthy futures and reducing stigma among marginalised populations
- Is cost-effective and feasible, protecting patients against catastrophic healthcare costs and productivity losses
Here are three quick tips to get you started:
- Include moving and impactful stories, whether from your own experience or from NOhep resources, when presenting on or discussing the impact of viral hepatitis.
- Utilise data from your own clinical practice to demonstrate the positive impact of treatment and diagnosis in a meaningful and motivational way, e.g. the increase in hepatitis diagnoses since the launch of an awareness programme, or the number of hepatitis C cures achieved to date.
- Post flyers in your local practice or area of work to inform others of the burden of viral hepatitis disease, emphasising moving stories of the impact of the disease on individuals and communities. Highlight that you are a NOhep visionary and provide your contact details for others to get involved if they wish.
Dr Philip Bruggman
After realising that many GPs and opiate substitution units in Switzerland were not testing for hepatitis or offering treatment, Dr Philip Bruggman and his organisation began training and educating relevant medical professionals to test for hepatitis and oversee patients’ treatment.Read the full case study
The benefits of advocacy
Advocacy has become such an important part of the healthcare system and determines how resources are allocated. Unfortunately, the advocacy voice in hepatitis is not strong enough to have the impact needed. Advocacy can produce an increased priority for hepatitis and more investment in resources. Combined voices are heard better.
The importance of advocacy
Advocacy is powerful and brings many benefits both to patient and to healthcare workers, because it forces increased attention on viral hepatitis. If viral hepatitis becomes more important for governments and health ministries, more funding is allocated to build infrastructure, increase staffing and treatment capacity and opportunities for research.
Other resources to help
- Visit the World Hepatitis Alliance’s ‘Wall of Stories’, a collection of stories from around the world, to find moving and impactful patient testimonials to use as part of your presentation.
- Use the viral hepatitis disease discussion guide as a resource to support your conversations with peers
and colleagues. This outlines key messages and data associated with the burden of disease and provides a framework and flow that highlights the human and economic cost of viral hepatitis.