The Champion - Professional #65

This issue:

  1. EC Australia launch provides a vital missing link to eliminating hepatitis C
  2. Hep B and Hep C Online Learning Modules
  3. Promoting hep C treatment… how do you score?
  4. Prisons initiative a finalist in 2018 NSW iCare Awards

Also:


EC Australia launch provides a vital missing link to eliminating hepatitis C

Launch of EC Australia

EC Australia – “Eliminating Hepatitis C” Australia – was launched in August at Parliament House by the federal health minister, the Hon Greg Hunt MP, in partnership with the Paul Ramsay Foundation. The project is a multi-million dollar targeted, national response to the serious decline in the uptake by Australians of highly effective drugs to cure hepatitis C.

Since new, highly effective hep C treatments were listed on the PBS in March 2016, tens of thousands people people living with hepatitis C across Australia have been treated. However, the number of people commencing treatment is falling, putting Australia at risk of missing its elimination targets. Over 170,000 Australians are yet to start these life saving hepatitis C treatment.

Co-ordinated by the Burnet Institute in Victoria, the specific goals of EC Australia are to:

  • Ensure that 15,000 Australians with hep C are treated and cured of their infection annually.
  • Ensure that people identified with cirrhosis related to hepatitis C infection are treated and cured, and regularly reviewed to monitor for liver cancer.
  • Establish a national collaborative framework to facilitate a coordinated response to the elimination of hepatitis C as a public health threat from Australia by 2030.

EC Australia Chief Investigator and Burnet Deputy Director, Professor Margaret Hellard said it’s critical for Australians living with hepatitis C to be tested, treated and cured to stop the transmission of new infections and hepatitis C-related deaths. It is vital that high treatment numbers are maintained to stop new hepatitis C transmissions and hepatitis C-related deaths.

To make this happen requires:

  • Awareness that cure is possible;
  • Making testing for hepatitis C easier;
  • Making it easy for people to get treated and cured;
  • Working to prevent new hepatitis C transmissions.

To read more: CLICK HERE

Hep B and Hep C Online Learning Modules

Hep B Learning ModulesHepatitis NSW’s Online Learning Modules are a simple introduction to hepatitis B and hepatitis C for anyone working with people affected by or at risk of these viruses. This might include people who work in homelessness, community services, harm reduction, alcohol and other drugs, and mental health settings.

The modules provide general information and are designed for people who work in non-clinical settings. While these modules are available to all, the content is not for clinical practice and is not to be considered medical advice.

These online learning modules take just 15-20 minutes each to complete. Each section ends with a short quiz to check your knowledge and a survey at the end to evaluate the modules. This is an easy way for busy people to learn the basics about viral hepatitis or to refresh their existing knowledge.

What will you learn?
The modules cover:

  • Hepatitis B and C transmission and prevention
  • The impact and landscape of hep B and C in Australia
  • Testing for hep B and C
  • Information on the hep C cure
  • Hep B vaccination, check-ups and treatment
  • Issues for people living with hepatitis B and C such as liver health and discrimination
  • How you can make a difference to hep B and C in Australia.

There is an optional module giving an overview of blood-borne viruses in the workplace.

These programs will take you through 5 modules on hep C and 6 modules on hep B, and both include a quiz, followed by a brief survey:

This program takes you through blood-borne viruses in the workplace:

Please note: These modules do not replace our half- or full-day education sessions such as our Get Bloody Serious workshop. To book an education session at your workplace or attend a workshop at our office, please see our Workforce Education page.

Promoting hep C treatment… how do you score?

ResourcesYou might find that some clients who use drugs, or who are in drug treatment services, have a belief that the new hep C cures will have bad side effects and are therefore not interested in treatment.

Why is this? There are a few reasons. Sometimes people who have experienced side effects, whilst a small percentage of the overall treatment group, can be very vocal about their experience; meanwhile the majority of people who experience no side effects often say very little. Another reason is that some people still vividly remember the side effects of the interferon-days, and can have a general distrust of health workers and medical authorities trying to tell them otherwise.

By countering misinformation and providing up-to-date information resources you can help people make informed decisions around accessing hep C treatment and cure. For example, by having a display of Hepatitis NSW resources in a prominent area with some  posters on the wall – or alternatively, by keeping resources on hand discreetly behind the counter, to be given to clients/patients whenever possible – you will do a lot towards dispelling myths and educating people.

Some examples of Hepatitis NSW resources:

To order free supplies of all our resources from within NSW:

Prisons initiative a finalist in 2018 NSW iCare Awards

iCareThe “Harm Reduction Strategies in NSW Prisons: Safety for All” initiative was a finalist in the 2018 iCare Awards. Safety for All was established by Justice Health and Forensic Mental Health Network’s Population Health team, in collaboration with Corrective Services NSW.

Outcomes of the initiative to-date have included a more consistent and collaborative delivery of harm reduction initiatives in line with policy across the system. Hepatitis NSW and NUAA, and several academic researchers, are also partners in the program.

The iCare Awards, presented by insurers iCare, recognise standout performers in NSW Government risk management and in work, health and safety who are delivering positive outcomes for the people, businesses and agencies of NSW.

While the award ultimately went to other finalists (congratulations to the Museum of Applied Arts and Sciences and to South Western Sydney Local Health District) the efforts of everyone involved in this important initiative were highly commended.

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