World Hepatitis Day Wrap Up
Updated: Aug 27, 2021
Mahalo to all those who joined us on Zoom on July 28 to mark World Hepatitis Day. This year’s theme was “Hep Can’t Wait.” Co-sponsored by Hep Free Hawai῾i, the event focused on the priorities outlined in “Hep Free 2030,” a strategy to eliminate hepatitis A, B, and C in Hawai῾i. Last year the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention declared viral hepatitis a “winnable battle,” making it a public health priority where significant progress can be made over a short period of time to eliminate disease.
Among the highlights: the passage of HCR 59 this past session in the state legislature; HHHRC’s mobile street medicine efforts continue to provide wound care outreach services in Chinatown; the completion of training through Project ECHO; a study by researcher Yash Vyas on hepatitis B among foreign born Asians and Pacific Islanders in Hawai῾i.
The event also highlighted the role of storytelling, featuring the debut of a short film “Strength in Numbers.” The film centers on the story of Richard Smith, a local bar manager who is under treatment for hepatitis B. His aunt, mother, and late partner have also been impacted by the virus.
Gov. David Ige formally declared July 28 World Hepatitis Day in Hawai῾i.
“World Hepatitis Day highlighted the progress we’ve made to combat viral hepatitis in Hawai῾i. Our goal is to continue to raise awareness about the need to increase screening and treatment for viral hepatitis in our community and work with stakeholders on policies that will facilitate statewide elimination,” said Hepatitis Care Coordinator Aaron Ruddick.