- Reducing the burden of hepatitis on World Hepatitis Day
- Hepatitis NSW Strategic Plan 2020-24 launched
- Nominations open for Hepatitis NSW Honorary Life Membership
Reducing the burden of hepatitis on World Hepatitis Day
World Hepatitis Day on July 28 acts as a focus for our collective efforts in the elimination of hepatitis B and hepatitis C – to applaud the successes, to highlight existing need, and advocate for changes.
Tens of thousands of people in NSW are living with viral hepatitis. Hepatitis B and hepatitis C in particular are two viruses that can become life-long chronic conditions, eventually leading to liver cirrhosis, liver cancer and sadly, all too often, death. A significant percentage of people living with hep B or hep C are unaware they have it. Even where people know their status, many experience barriers to accessing healthcare, treatment, or cure.
Much has been done towards the goals of raising awareness, of improving access to services and reducing stigma and discrimination, of Closing the Gap, and of eliminating viral hepatitis, yet much remains to be done. Hepatitis NSW looks forward to continuing that work with our community and with stakeholders.
The COVID-19 pandemic necessitated changes to many plans for World Hepatitis Day and NSW Hepatitis Awareness Week, however Hepatitis NSW and our many friends still offered plenty of opportunities to celebrate, connect, engage, learn and share in support of the elimination of viral hepatitis. Here are some of many activities.
Hepatitis NSW would normally hold an open community event to mark World Hepatitis Day. Sadly, due to the pandemic that wasn’t possible this year. Instead we took our WHD event online, using a platform that allowed us to combine live and pre-recorded elements into an hour’s worth of informative and engaging “interactive television”.
The event was a great success with over one hundred people watching live during the event, and upwards of 87 watching at any given time. The host and MC was our very own Deputy CEO Maria McMahon (pictured) who wove the presentations together seamlessly, drawing on her great insight, understanding and warmth. Opening the event, we blessed with a very warm Welcome to Country from Aunty Ann Weldon, who in addition to the welcome, reminded us of the importance to celebrate and honour those who have made sacrifices for us all.
- Meredith Claremont, Acting Executive Officer, Population Health, NSW Health, delivering a keynote overview;
- Steven Drew, Hepatitis NSW CEO, who launched our 2020-24 Strategic Plan (see below for more);
- Professor Greg Dore from the Kirby Institute, talking on epidemiology and progress towards the elimination of hepatitis;
- Kerry Walker, the Aboriginal Project Officer at Hepatitis NSW, who spoke about Aboriginal people and hep C and hep B issues in NSW;
- Professor Carla Treloar from the University of NSW, in conversation with Steven Drew about social attitudes and cultural determinants of stigma and discrimination, and its impact on progress towards the elimination of hepatitis;
- Dr Mary Harrod, the NUAA CEO, talking about the elimination of hepatitis among people who inject drugs, including key challenges and opportunities;
- Gai Stackpool, Deputy Manager at Multicultural HIV and Hepatitis Service (MHAHS), spoke on the progress towards the elimination of hepatitis B including the challenges and opportunities for culturally and linguistically diverse migrant and refugee communities; and
- Tom Wright, Harm Reduction Project Officer at Justice Health and the Forensic Mental Health Network, talked about viral hepatitis elimination efforts and successes in NSW prisons.
Grace and Wei, provided the voice of community, speaking about their experiences of living with hepatitis C and hepatitis B respectively. Grace is a current member of our Community Speakers program.
Thank you to everyone who participated and watched. For anyone who missed parts or all of it and would like to watch it, it is available online.
- To watch the WHD2020 Event >>>CLICK HERE
Clearing The Path
A highlight of NSW Hepatitis Awareness Week this year, was the roll out of the updated Clearing the Path campaign in over 80 locations across NSW. Featuring bright, eye-catching artwork – wall posters, street pole posters, pull up banners, and pubs and clubs washroom advertising – Clearing The Path raises awareness of hep C cure.
In addition to the advertising campaign, Local Health Districts, Needle Syringe Programs and other organisations received other promotional materials and resources, including:
- Hand Sanitisers;
- Long sleeve tees;
- Phone cardholders; and
Adding a dash of colour to the wintry Sydney landscape, campaign street banners were flown around Darlinghurst, Kings Cross and Maroubra (funded by South Eastern Sydney LHD), as well as Broadway (funded by Sydney LHD).
TV and media engagements
Trying to be get media attention to promote hepatitis awareness and information is hard enough at the best of times, let alone during an overwhelming and all-consuming pandemic. Hepatitis NSW did, however, manage some significant breakthroughs for World Hepatitis Day, to get out positive messages about hepatitis treatment, management and cure.
Strong supporters of World Hepatitis Day, WIN News in the Illawarra, provided a fantastic opportunity to feature three lived experience peers – Mary, Gren, and Bill – as well as our CEO, Steven Drew, talking about hep C treatment and cure. The local piece, so we’re told, actually went national! Another peer, Grace, was featured on SBS World News, in a segment about hep C cure and World Hepatitis Day. Other media included radio interview on Bathurst radio station 2BS featuring CEO Steven Drew, and a pre-recorded segment on 2SM.
As part of the Clearing The Path campaign, a social media kit was distributed to Local Health Districts and community organisations – and a great newspaper piece was generated for this in the Northern Rivers LHD – to check that out >>>CLICK HERE.
- To watch the WIN TV News segment >>>CLICK HERE
- To read our Media Release >>>CLICK HERE
- To download the Clearing The Path Social Media Kit .zip >>>CLICK HERE
As reported in the June 2020 edition of The Champion, because of COVID-19, Hepatitis NSW is exploring new and engaging ways to deliver online education to the community, and to services. On Thursday 30 July, as part of NSW Hepatitis Awareness Week, we held No Fake News: Hep C treatments work.
With around 100 people attending via Zoom, the successful seminar provided an excellent opportunity for participants to engage with some of the many incredible people working in this sector across NSW. Hepatitis NSW educators and peer workers busted myths, broke down fake news and got to the real story about hepatitis C in this 90-minute webinar.
The webinar was a technological challenge of coordination and delivery as can be seen in the picture above which shows the shows the digital control panel set-up for the event!
Topics covered included: the impact of hep C on the body and how the virus is transmitted; prevalence of hep C in NSW and local communities; what’s involved in hep C screening and what clients need to know; a Dried-Blood Spot (DBS) testing demonstration; the difference between old interferon and new Direct-Acting Antiviral (DAA) treatments; identifying and removing barriers to healthcare, and; much, much more!
The seminar will be uploaded to our YouTube channel in the near future.
Spot that plane!
On World Hepatitis Day, a plane with a “Hep C Cure is Easy” message flew from Ballina to Lismore, via Byron Bay as part of the Test, Cure, Live/Let’s Talk Hep campaign. Hepatitis NSW is part of this campaign being run in the NSW Northern Rivers area in collaboration with Hepatitis Australia and Lismore Liver Clinic.
People were asked to take a photo of the plane and post it to social media (Facebook, Twitter and/or Instagram) tagged with #LetsTalkHep. The best photo (at left), decided through an online poll was taken by Genevieve Schebeck from Ballina. Genevieve is the lucky winner of a $300 dinner voucher from the Fleet Restaurant in Brunswick Heads.
The plane and its message generated a lot of community discussion on the day.
…and a Treasure Hunt, me hearty Livers!
As part of NSW Hepatitis Awareness Week, we left a trail of Larry’s Livers around our website for people to find in our Larry’s Liver Treasure Hunt!
From the starting point with the Hepatitis NSW website, contestants only needed to find Larry’s Liver on a series of pages, write down the word he was saying, then click to go through to the next page in the hunt. Then repeat!
After visiting several pages, the avid treasure hunter would have collected all the words to spell out the phrase they needed to win: HEP C TREATMENT HAS CHANGED. JUST PILLS – NO JABS. 8 OR 12 WEEKS. DONE! Up for grabs were three $100 Coles/Myer gift cards:
Not only was the Larry’s Livers treasure hunt fun, it was a great chance to look through many of the informative pages on our site. So yes, it was education by stealth as well. The lucky three winners drawn by random number generation– Travis, Aidan, and Lydia – have now been contacted. Thanks to everyone who participated.
Hepatitis NSW Strategic Plan 2020-24 launched
Hepatitis NSW used the spotlight of World Hepatitis Day 2020 to launch our new Strategic Plan.
The document outlines strategies to achieving our goal of a world free of viral hepatitis. Our new Strategic Plan aims to support the achievement of WHO elimination targets for hepatitis B and hepatitis C. In NSW, the commitment is to achieve these targets by 2028, a full two years earlier than the target set by WHO and agreed by the Australian Government.
Every day we work to improve the health and well-being of affected people and our community, so it’s essential we have the right strategies to shape and direct our work, our communication, and our engagement with stakeholders.
We know the broader community need access to up to date info about the prevention, testing, treatment, management and cure of hepatitis B and hepatitis C. Yet, stigma and discrimination remain a major barrier to service access and treatment.
Our goals are to:
- increase the knowledge and awareness of people living with, or at risk of, hepatitis B and hepatitis C, by promoting testing, treatment, management, cure, prevention, and well-being;
- build the capacity of the health and community workforce in key settings to enable them to deliver evidence-based services, free from stigma and discrimination;
- engage, empower, and mobilise affected people and communities to advocate together. This will help them to achieve viral elimination goals and promote equality of access to prevention, care, and treatment services;
- maintain and grow Hepatitis NSW as an inclusive organisation with strong agility, expertise, competence, innovation, and integrity.
We will continue to work in partnership with Local Health Districts and with community groups to reach at-risk communities in safe and appropriate ways. We will make sure people have current information and support to access services and treatment in culturally appropriate settings which meet their needs.
We are on our way to eliminating viral hepatitis in NSW. Many lives have been saved and improved already. While there are still many more to be reached, elimination of hepatitis C and hepatitis B is now within sight and our new Strategic Plan shows the way.
To read our Strategic Plan 2020-2024 >>>CLICK HERE
Nominations open for Hepatitis NSW Honorary Life Membership
Honorary Life Membership is the highest recognition that can be awarded by Hepatitis NSW to a member of the organisation. It is awarded to individual or organisational members in acknowledgement of loyal and outstanding service and contributions, which have provided measurable benefit to Hepatitis NSW, over an extended period of time.
With Honorary Life Memberships awarded to recipients as part of the Audrey Lamb Community Forum, held in conjunction with the Hepatitis NSW Annual General Meeting, nominations for 2020 are now open. The picture at left shows some of the
seven awardees from 2019.
Any financial or retired member can be nominated by any current financial member with the nomination being seconded by at least one other financial member using the approved form. It’s important to note that Honorary Life Membership is not a competitive process. Nominees are considered individually and on their personal attributes and achievements and not in comparison to others.
Nominations close: 10 September, 2020
The Nomination Form, along with all other information can be downloaded from our website >>>CLICK HERE