To commemorate World Hepatitis Day 2014 and increase public awareness on hepatitis B and C, Hepar Centar-Bitola held various activities which improved the understanding of the hepatitis-related issues and triggered public support in favour of actions to address the disease in an effective and systematic manner at the national level.
Similarly to previous years, a large scale free medical examinations for hepatitis C were offered to people in popular public places. To reinforce the importance of hepatitis prevention, Hepar Centar – Bitola also offered free testing with fibroscan. In line with the international recommendations for inclusion of vulnerable risk-groups, prison population in Bitola was also tested for hepatitis C for free.
Yet, one of the most emblematic initiatives to motivate people to get tested and inform them of the risks of getting infected with hepatitis B and C was the positioning of large letters B and C. The letters were exhibited with a model of a red heart, which symbolized sincerity and dedication to the cause of those fighting against the hepatitis threat.
The wide-range campaign was broadly supported by popular singers, musicians, actors, stand-up comedians, film directors and models who expressed concern over the need to urgently address hepatitis which constitutes a significant health challenge in Macedonia.
Undoubtedly, the culmination of the public campaign was the music concert held in the center of Bitola, which spread the message of hope and called for action. Upon the encouragement of Hepar Centar – Bitola, a song on hepatitis was written and successfully promoted.
With the help of dedicated volunteers, Hepar Centar – Bitola distributed a range of educational materials such as brochures, posters and flyers in some of the most popular tourist destinations in Macedonia. As part of the prevention campaign, citizens and tourists also received free condoms.
The activities of Hepar Centar – Bitola triggered widespread support and interest among the citizens and the media. The extensive media coverage spanned across printed media, televisions and radio broadcast services, which contributed to the better understanding of the issues related to prevention, detection, early diagnosis and access to treatment of patients infected with viral hepatitis.