The Champion eNews #85 | June 2020

This issue:

    1. Unexpected bright spot: Clearing the Path campaign returns
    2. Have you heard it on The Hep Vine? Check out our new blog
    3. New CEO appointed to Hepatitis Australia
    4. Using technology to continue community engagement and education

Unexpected bright spot: Clearing the Path campaign returns

Clearing the Path

COVID-19 may have forced us to delay the kick off HepCured, our hepatitis C communications campaign, but we have been able to create a bright spot and still get a positive message out.

Our popular and well received Clearing the Path campaign, which ran at the beginning of the year, has been refined and enhanced for a rerun in the lead up to late July HepCured launch during NSW Hepatitis Awareness Week.

Clearing the Path has been designed for people who inject drugs and includes resources such as posters, stickers (for automatic dispensing machines (ADMs) and sharps bins), and concertina-cards (C-cards). The C-cards are pocket/wallet sized and fold out to reveal easy read messages that bust myths, addresses misinformation, and encourage people to get tested and start treatment. The messages were developed in collaboration with NUAA and people who inject drugs.

We recently held a mini-mail-out to collate and send the material. Every Local Health District (LHD) across the state have identified high foot traffic NSPs where the cards and resources can be distributed. The campaign is positive, colourful and invites people to talk with us by calling our Infoline or visiting the website.

Watch out for Clearing the Path around your LHD, and stay tuned for the launch of HepCured.

See the Hep C Campaign website>>> CLICK HERE

Have you heard it on The Hep Vine? Check out our new blog

Hepatitis B was no barrier to having a baby

Our website has recently had a significant upgrade to the news and information blog section, now titled The Hep Vine.

The upgrade not only made navigation easier, but also allowed new content to be immediately visible via the site’s home page. These improvements, along with some great new articles and savvy optimisation of content, will make it easier for people to find our website, giving them access to what they need to inform and educate themselves about viral hepatitis and related issues.

Here are a few recent articles:

  • What is World Hepatitis Day? which looks at why this global day of awareness is so highly significant, not just for Australia but all countries around the world.
  • Having Hepatitis B Was No Barrier To Having A Baby is guest written by Amanda, one of our Hep B Hepatitis Speakers. She talks about her experience with hep B in South Korea and Australia, and of giving birth to her son. The post has also been translated into Korean and is available here. We will be including many more personal stories from our wonderful peer workforce in the coming months.
  • Coronavirus COVID-19 factsheet which went online in March but has since been superseded by our Hep C and COVID-19 FAQ and Hep B and COVID-19 FAQ web pages. It was however, for several weeks, responsible for tens of thousands of new visits to our website.

To check out The Hep Vine>>> CLICK HERE

New CEO appointed to Hepatitis Australia

Carrie Fowlie, CEO, Hepatitis Australia

Carrie Fowler has recently commenced as Hepatitis Australia CEO, following the retirement of Helen Tyrrell from the role. Carrie has over two decades of experience in peak body representation, at the national and international level. Her work with elected officials in parliaments, at the United Nations, and in governments, resulted in policies that benefited the communities she was representing.

In her recent welcome to readers of the Hepatitis Australia newsletter, Carrie wrote:

The Australian community’s increased awareness about viruses and public health is an opportunity for us. There have been few times in history where we’ve had a chance to eliminate any disease, Australia has that chance now with viral hepatitis.

Australia and the world have set a goal of eliminating viral hepatitis by 2030 – this is extraordinary. This goal is not an aspiration.

Due to the incredible efforts of the hepatitis sector working in genuine partnership with governments, Australia has a plan with targets articulated in our national hepatitis strategies and supported by jurisdictional strategies.

Through empowering affected communities, tackling stigma, strategic partnerships, collective action, working to and building the evidence base, national leadership and increasing investment we can eliminate viral hepatitis.

We couldn’t agree more and look very much forward to working with Carrie and her team at Hepatitis Australia.

Using technology to continue community engagement and education

New forms of community education

Hepatitis NSW delivers a large number of face-to-face community education and engagement sessions each year. COVID-19 has presented us with significant and novel challenges but, it has also given us an opportunity to explore new and exciting ways to continue our work. This has meant we can now continue to deliver events and training sessions using a variety of technology platforms.

During May, we delivered hep B education, in Korean and Mandarin, to over 100 online participants. The Mandarin session was delivered via Zoom, with participants using mobile phones/tablets at their end. It went smoothly with high levels of engagement – the Chinese seniors who participated had hep B demystified for them and were keen to know more about liver health. With the Korean community, we held a webinar with the Korean Doctors’ Society about COVID-19 and related health information. The webinar approach helped create a safe and comfortable space for Korean speaking people, and the messages were well received.

Hepatitis NSW also presented an online hep C session to medical and nursing students at Notre Dame University. Another session coming up soon is for staff of an Aboriginal Land Council that runs a health clinic in south-west Sydney. More information sessions for other organisations who work with and support members of our community are being prepared and will soon be delivered.

Finally, we are working on ensuring the voices of our lived experience hepatitis speakers can still be heard despite most education and engagement currently being online. A suite of videos under production will mean that our speakers can continue to share their personal stories and be heard.

We’ll have more information on these developments, and more, soon.

Tx! MAG #34

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