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The Champion #111 – October 2022

This issue:

  1. Australia’s Biggest Quiz… be part of this record making event!
  2. Closing the Gap at Koori Knockout 2022
  3. Write To Be Heard voices get heard again
  4. Government rejects key elements of Ice Inquiry
  5. S100 co-payment program review

Australia’s Biggest Quiz… be part of this record making event!

Australia’s Biggest Quiz... be part of this record making event!

Be a part of something special – Australia’s Biggest Quiz! Sign up, create a team with your family, friends and colleagues to help set a new Guinness World Record.

Hepatitis NSW is excited and thrilled to support Hepatitis Australia’s record-breaking attempt – Australia’s Biggest Quiz -which will be held across the country on Wednesday October 26 from 7.00pm AEST.

The quiz is a massive Australian community event to raise awareness of hep C, and the availability of an effective and accessible cure. Hepatitis Australia’s innovative and fun initiative aims to find and cure 50,000 people of the virus by 2023. The quiz will spread the word to help towards that goal. Australia could be the first country in the world to eliminate hep C and you could be a part of this historic public health achievement.

Australia’s Biggest Quiz forms part of the Ending Hepatitis C campaign, which is being delivered by Hepatitis Australia and is being funded by the Australian Department of Health and Aged Care as part of a wider program of initiatives designed to form part of Australia’s strategy to end viral hepatitis.

To be part of this history-making, record-breaking attempt to help end hep C in Australia join in the fun on Wednesday 26 October either online, or at one of these four NSW live-event locations:


Closing the Gap at Koori Knockout 2022

Closing the Gap at Koori Knockout 2022
Mary (HNSW) and Rusty (SWOP) with the stall giveaways at the Koori Knockout.

One of the biggest Indigenous sporting events in the country, the Koori Knockout was held over the October long weekend in Nowra. The Knockout was hosted by previous Knockout winners, the South Coast Black Cockatoos and it marked the return of the comp after a two year break due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The four-day tournament featured more than one hundred rugby league teams from across the state, with many former and current NRL players among those competing for the title.

Two of our peer workers, – Mary and Josh – along with staff from our sector partners SWOP and ACON, made the trip to Nowra to provide information, education and support to the revellers.

The team took about 1,500 Hepatitis NSW resources and free merchandise with them, plus hundreds of health department giveaways such as COVID Rapid Antigen Tests (RATs), antibacterial wipes and hand sanitizers. As you would expect, these goodies were well received and very popular, helping get the message out about hep C testing, treatment and cure, and hepatitis B testing, monitoring and treatment.

The Knockout was a great experience for all attending. Around 40,000 spectators were part of the event across the weekend, despite the rain and mud. These large and important community events give Hepatitis NSW a way to support efforts to Close The Gap in health outcomes between First Nations and the broader community. We are better able to provide relevant, real time and appropriate information, support and resources about hep B and hep C, directly to Aboriginal and Torres Strait people and communities from across NSW.

Final scores 2022!

For the footy fans among our readers, here are this year’s winners!

Write To Be Heard

Write To Be Heard voices get heard again

Write To Be Heard gets heard again

As previously reported, our latest hepatitis B publication – Write to Be Heard – was formally launched by Dr Kerry Chant, the NSW Chief Health Officer, at Sydney Hospital on World Hepatitis Day 2022. A tri-ligual book, Write to Be Heard tells many stories about the personal impacts of hepatitis B from people in Chinese and Korean communities living in NSW.

Due to COVID mandated restrictions on attendee numbers at the World Hepatitis Day event, not all authors or their families were able to attend that launch. Not wanting our wonderful and generous authors to miss out on being celebrated, Hepatitis NSW held another party at our Surry Hills office last month to thank them all. Hosting the writers and our hepatitis B positive speakers, we celebrated and acknowledged their contributions that led to this great resource.

Colorful paper lanterns to celebrate the Moon Festival, an important traditional festival celebrated by the Chinese and Korean communities, decorated the venue. People also enjoyed our specially catered Chinese mooncakes, and Korean rice cakes.

The well attended event was a great moment to have all the writers and speakers come together, and a great opportunity for them to talk about their experiences and learn from each other. One such writer, Kin (author of the Chinese lived experience story, Even A Gentle Brook Can Hit Rocks) said,” I feel that our voices are being heard, and we feel supported”.

A small number of the book in its tri-lingual format was distributed selectively. It is also available to read online in three versions:

Government rejects key elements of Ice Inquiry

Government rejects key elements of Ice Inquiry

After a protracted delay, the NSW Government provided its response to the Ice Inquiry Report. The NSW Government response commits to increased treatment services, particularly in rural and regional areas, as well as increased diversion, which is welcome.

Disappointingly however, the response rejects many of the recommendations that would go a long way towards reducing the transmission of blood borne viruses, as well as increasing opportunities for hepatitis C testing and treatment, reduce stigma, as well as most importantly improve overall health outcomes for users and the public.

Recommendations from the Special Inquiry into Ice rejected by the NSW Government include:

Uniting NSW.ACT, the social justice and welfare arm of the Uniting Church, has spearheaded the Fair Treatment campaign for fairer drug laws. While welcoming plans for increased treatment services and diversion, they also stressed that the current policing-based approach to drug use is not working.

Moderator of the Uniting Church (NSW and ACT), the Rev. Simon Hansford, said “Our drug laws are based on stigmatising and outdated ideas, not modern medical facts, and evidence. People who experience drug dependency are shamed and dehumanised when they should be offered life-saving connection.

“We need to have a more honest, open and ongoing conversation about alcohol and other drugs. Our current laws create harm by driving people away from seeking and finding the support they need.”

Fair Treatment website>>> CLICK HERE

S100 co-payment program review

S100 co-payment program review

The NSW Government pays patient co-payments for some Section 100 (s100) drugs and medicines to help ease the financial burden for eligible people in NSW with chronic conditions, including hepatitis B.

In 2021, the NSW Ministry of Health (MoH) evaluated this initiative, including how much it may have improved access to medicines and the choice of where people got them from. Hepatitis NSW was pleased to support this by assisting with the recruitment of people living with hep B to help inform the evaluation.

The key findings of the report included:

The initiative has achieved its aim to reduce costs for patients in NSW, who saved $43.5m in s100 co-payments over five years. Dispensing in community pharmacies has also enhanced the reach of the initiative and provides patient choice of where to access medicines. One of the recommendations arising from the evaluation is to increase the consent form renewal period from 12 months to three years.

Hepatitis NSW welcomes the ongoing initiative and its incorporation into NSW Health recurrent expenditure. This is an important system for ensuring equity and access to essential treatment medication.

Within the evaluation summary report, it was of interest to Hepatitis NSW that the hepatitis B treatment Entecavir is in the top three medications dispensed by community pharmacies. While this demonstrates there is a significant uptake of hep B treatment in NSW, we also know there is a deficit in the number of people living with hep B aware of their status and/or appropriate health care. This suggests that, while S100 co-payments effectively target the right communities, we should expect to see the use of hep B treatments through the initiative increase as more members of the affected communities are educated about regular testing and monitoring of the virus.

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