Hepatitis NSW Chinese Community Leaders Forum – which is funded by WentWest, the Western Sydney Primary Health Network – was held on 31 October, 2018 at Castle Hill RSL. The event attracted 33 prominent leaders from the Chinese community and was part of an ongoing partnership with Western Sydney Local Health District to tackle hepatitis B in our community.
The event educated community leaders and highlighted the importance of hepatitis B testing, monitoring and treatment in the Chinese community.
Ms Win Yee Tan, formerly a Project Worker at Hepatitis NSW, spoke about why hepatitis B is an important issue for Chinese migrants. Dr Ernest Paw, from Dundas Valley Medical Centre, spoke from a general practitioner’s perspective on hepatitis B in the Chinese community. A positive speaker who has lived experience of hepatitis B then shared their story.
In Australia, more than 232,000 people have chronic hepatitis B, and unfortunately, one-third of these people have not been diagnosed. It is estimated that 77,000 people living in NSW have chronic hepatitis B.
The prevalence of chronic hepatitis B in Australia is estimated to have increased by more than 50,000 people in the past decade, affecting approximately 1% of the population. This rises to over 8% for people born in high prevalence countries such as China.
Since hepatitis B is mainly transmitted from mothers with chronic hepatitis B to their baby at birth it affects families.
A person living with hepatitis B may have no symptoms, and may not know they have it until they become suddenly seriously ill. However, hepatitis B can be treated so that people with the virus can live a long and healthy life.
Untreated chronic hepatitis B is a major contributor to liver cancer, and deaths from liver cancer have been climbing faster than any other cause of cancer death in Australia. Most people diagnosed with liver cancer in Australia will die within one to two years – many in the first month after diagnosis. Therefore, testing people from priority populations is essential to ensure people receive appropriate management and treatment to prevent chronic liver disease and liver cancer.
Hepatitis NSW is a not-for-profit charity that provides free information, education, advocacy, and counselling services for people who are living with viral hepatitis. We run a Hepatitis B Community Education Project, with Mandarin-language workshops and events held throughout the Sydney metropolitan area.
For more information on hepatitis B visit hepbchinese.org
For more information, please contact:
Stuart Loveday, CEO, Hepatitis NSW