The Champion 68 - Community - December

This issue:

  1. Cycle to End the Cycle in Maroubra
  2. Hepatitis NSW supports Give A Dog A Bone
  3. New national hep C strategy released

Cycle to End the Cycle in Maroubra

Cycle to End the Cycle in MaroubraIn late November, Hepatitis NSW ran a hep B and hep C focused education activity at the Maroubra Surf Life Saving Club. This was part of a larger activity, called Cycle to End the Cycle, organised by Aboriginal Health Worker Kevin Heath. It was an event aimed at ending the cycle of young Aboriginal people not speaking out about their problems, and was partnered with local sporting clubs.

Over the course of 12 hours – with 15 minute slots – a set of six riders would take turns on a row of exercise bikes, with plenty of onlookers, family and friends urging them on, and with a playlist of tunes blasting out to keep their energy up. More than 300 people were engaged in the activity.

Most people did a couple of cycle sessions and, between rides, they visited our health area stalls.

Almost 150 people came and interacted with us, or browsed and took away resources. We displayed and distributed resources, ran a Chocolate Wheel – with questions about hepatitis transmission, prevention, treatment and myths and facts – and then gave people tickets to go in the hourly draw to win $50 shopping vouchers. We had many conversations about hep B and hep C with visitors to the stall, and talked with people from a wide range of ages.

South East Sydney Local Health District HARP Unit staff, Aboriginal Health Promotion workers, and Playsafe Sexual Health Educators were alongside us, covering sexual health, and safe sex practices, along with a stall run by headspace who addressed youth mental health issues.

Young people enjoyed visiting our stall, and had heaps of fun looking at resources, hearing information, trying out and choosing from the free merchandise, and learning, then answering quiz questions. Groups of up to six at a time engaged and interacted with many young people sharing their own knowledge and strategies with their friends.

A big thank you goes to Rusty Nannup from SWOP, who worked with Hepatitis NSW’s Maria McMahon, at the stall on the day and, to SES LHD who provided a grant to deliver the activity.

Hepatitis NSW supports Give A Dog A Bone

Hepatitis NSW supports GADABGive A Dog A Bone, Keep Kitty Happy (or, GADAB) is a small Christmas themed charity that has been operating out of Surry Hills for several years now. They run a drive during November-December in numerous locations across Sydney (in vet’s offices, animal shelters, etc), collecting toys and food for mainly dogs and cats – which are then all distributed to animals in shelters, and to the pets and animal companions of homeless people. The 2018 GADAB Christmas Drive has been their best year yet! Their website is here – giveadogabone.info

Here at Hepatitis NSW, we think GADAB is a great idea, and this year pitched in by donating heaps of doggie snack packs that will go to the pets and animal companions of people who are homeless in Sydney. People who are homeless are a top priority for us, so we included a Hepatitis Infoline card in the packs too in case the animal’s human companions would like to know more about testing and cure of hep C.

New national hep strategies released

Fifth National Hepatitis C Strategy 2018-22 released

The Australian Government recently released the Fifth National Hepatitis C Strategy and Third National Hepatitis B Strategy. They both run from 2018 to 2022. This issue of The Champion looks at the Hep C Strategy, and the January 2019 will have an overview of the Hep B Strategy.  The Hep C Strategy includes principles to further the national response to hep C. Significantly, it acknowledges the need for  the involvement of people living with hep C, and affected communities, in the response. Here is a brief summary of some key issues raised:

  • SVR testing: more needs to be done to ensure people are getting SVR tested at 12 weeks post-treatment to ensure they know they are cured.
  • Goals: The Strategy aims to decrease the number of people living with hep C by 60% by 2022, however the goals of a 50% reduction in the last Strategy were not met.
  • Community-led response: There are several mentions of “active” and “meaningful” participation of priority populations in the hep C response.
  • Barriers: The Strategy talks about addressing barriers which affect how people from priority populations access hep C cure related healthcare.
  • Access and equity: There were lots of points relating to addressing systemic, structural issues in an equitable manner.
  • Evidence-based approach: There were numerous mentions of the need for evidence-based research and science informing the hep C response.
  • Diagnosis: the aim for 2022 is 90% of people living with hep C to be diagnosed. We’re at 80% at present.
  • 65% treated: The target for the percentage of people living with hep C getting treated is 65% by 2022. We’re at 25% now however the current treatment uptake still leaves us short of that goal.
  • General community awareness: One of the priority areas listed is improving knowledge in the general community.
  • Reinfection: while this is mentioned several times there’s still a limited amount of information available about reinfection.
  • Priority settings: The Strategy mentions both priority populations and priority settings (services that support priority populations – for example, custodial settings, Aboriginal Medical Services, and NSPs).
  • PWID/ PWPID: The Strategy splits, for the first time, ‘people who inject drugs’ and ‘people who previously injected drugs.’
  • Medically acquired hep C: The Strategy uses the term “people living with medically acquired hepatitis C” to describe those who acquired hep C prior to 1990 through the health system.
  • NSPs in prison: The Strategy takes a position essentially (but not directly) supporting the call for NSPs in prison.
  • Peers: Some mention of the importance of peer work and peer led responses.

And lastly, one of the priority areas states “facilitate a highly skilled multidisciplinary workforce that is respectful of and responsive to the needs of people at risk of or living with hepatitis C” which Hepatitis NSW fully supports.

Thanks for 2018!Donating to Hepatitis NSW is easy!

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