World Hepatitis Day 2017- Elimination at Hand
3rd August 2017- The official function to mark World Hepatitis Day 2017 was celebrated by Health Protection Agency and WHO Country Office for Maldives through a High Level Meeting, advocating the importance of Eliminating Hepatitis, a growing public Health issue in the country.
Amongst the distinguished guests were Cabinet members such as Minister of Home Affairs Honorable Azleen Ahmed, Minister of Health Honorable Abdulla Nazim Ibrahim together with the WHO Representative Dr Arvind Mathur. True to the theme “Eliminate Hepatitis”, the forum provided an ample opportunity for high level delegations to discuss the core interventions and political commitment needed for Maldives to reach the Global Elimination goal of 2030.
Unique to other such forums, the Eliminate Hepatitis event held several interactive activities to gain momentum. The forum first started off with a simple interactive quiz on hepatitis for all participants, using their own smartphones. Quiz results were displayed on the screen based on real time and the participants tested their knowledge on the public Health issue. Next, the delegation went around and shook hands with the participants. Little did the participants know that at the end of the friendly interaction, their hands were covered in glitter. Although Hepatitis does not spread through handshake, it symbolized and signified how fast and discreetly Hepatitis can spread amongst us.
“In the WHO South-East Asia Region (SEAR) this life threatening disease claims around half a million lives each year that is more than malaria, dengue, and HIV/AIDS related deaths combined” said Dr Arvind Mathur, WHO Representative in his opening remarks, “Today is truly a remarkable day in our quest to fight ‘Hepatitis’ as Maldives once again demonstrates that such victories are possible through multi sectoral engagement and a high level political commitment”
Consolidating the WHO Representative’s words, Honorable Minister of Health Mr Abdulla Nazim Ibrahim and Honorable Minister of Home Affairs Mr Azleen Ahmed were devoted to eliminating Hepatitis from the Maldives with the guidance of WHO’s Global health Sector Strategy on Viral Hepatitis, with high political commitment, robust health system focusing on universal health coverage and Sustainable Development goals.
WHO continues to work with Maldives, across different sectors and with different partners in the endeavor to ensure good health of the people, healthier new generations and healthier nation. WHO firmly believes achieving the 2030 elimination goal is not overly ambitious for Maldives, a forerunner and a leader in eliminating of diseases in the Region.