Written by Kim Cordell | Product Development Administrator, European Medical Journal | @EMJ_Kim
This July, EMJ has proudly supported International Group B Strep Awareness Month, Sarcoma Awareness Week, and World Hepatitis Day.
Taking place throughout the month of July, International Group B Strep Awareness Month is organised to bring attention to this life-threatening infection in new-borns. As the most common cause of meningitis, sepsis, and pneumonia in babies (infections which can be prevented), there is still more to be done to raise awareness of Group B Step (GBS), where, according to the USA Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), ~1 in 4 pregnant women are carriers.1
Whilst not all babies exposed to GBS will be at risk of infection, it can have a devastating impact on those who are affected, with two babies a day developing the infection, one baby a week dying from Group B Strep, and one baby a week surviving GBS with a disability.2 July offers an opportunity to shine a light on the condition, and “continue the fight to stop Group B Strep infection in babies.”3
Marti Perhach, CEO of Group B Strep International states: “It is so important for perinatal healthcare providers to partner with their patients to help prevent GBS disease in babies. Sometimes even simple communication can make all the difference such as:
- going over the importance of keeping track of fetal movements AND what to do if there is a change
- making sure a GBS positive patient knows to be at the hospital AS SOON AS her labour starts or water breaks for the IV antibiotics for GBS to have time to be optimally effective
- telling mums that GBS can infect babies up to several months of age EVEN if she has tested negative AND giving her a list of the signs of infection in babies to go over with all of her baby’s caregivers”
Held on the 3rd–9th of this month, Sarcoma Awareness Week was organised by Sarcoma UK, the only charity in the UK which focusses on all types of sarcoma cancer. Each day in the UK 10 people are diagnosed with sarcoma, a cancer of the bone or soft tissue, where often, a key symptom is a lump which quickly increases in size, and this awareness week campaigns to “amplify sarcoma awareness, inspire involvement, and fund ground-breaking research to transform the lives of everyone affected by sarcoma.”4
Finally, organised by the World Hepatitis Alliance (WHA), this year’s World Hepatitis Day takes place on 28th July. In May 2016, 194 governments adopted the World Health Organization’s (WHOs) global strategy on viral hepatitis, pledging to eliminate hepatitis B and C, and World Hepatitis Day provides an opportunity to “build on this momentum and accelerate progress towards achieving the goal of elimination by 2030.”5 Calling on people around the world to get behind the campaign, the WHA uses the line “Eliminate Hepatitis” to remind people that “regardless of your priorities, the theme can be easily adapted for local use; to achieve elimination, greater awareness, increased diagnosis, and key interventions including universal vaccination, blood and injection safety, harm reduction, and treatment are all needed. Every activity that addresses viral hepatitis is a step towards eliminating it.”5
Whilst 194 governments have taken the pledge towards eliminating hepatitis, we must remember that hepatitis is something which affects millions of men, women, and children across the world, and we all have a role to play in this process of elimination. That is why this year’s World Hepatitis Day uses the #ShowYourFace campaign, encouraging people to take photographs of individual human faces, accompanied by “I AM” statements to show that everyone is relevant in working towards this goal, and what each individual has pledged in order to take a stand against hepatitis.
- Group B Strep International. Group B strep is a big deal! 2017. Available at: https://www.groupbstrepinternational.org/. Last accessed: 12 July 2017.
- Group B Strep Support. On average in the UK. 2017. Available at: http://gbss.org.uk/campaigning/gbs-awareness-month/. Last accessed: 12 July 2017.
- Group B Strep Support. Group B Strep Awareness Month 1-31 July 2017. Available at: http://gbss.org.uk/campaigning/gbs-awareness-month/. Last accessed: 12 July 2017.
- Sarcoma UK. About us. 2017. Available at: https://sarcoma.org.uk/about-us. Last accessed: 25 July 2017.
- World Hepatitis Day. Eliminate Hepatitis. Available at: http://worldhepatitisday.org/en/2017-campaign. Last accessed: 12 July 2017.