How Melbourne youth from different cultural backgrounds are volunteering in the fight -against viral hepatitis
11 January 2018
Hysterical headlines about youth crime waves have been with us as long as there have been banner headlines. And fake news stories promoted by politicians trying to score points are nothing new.
It is a sad fact that race-baiting and sensationalism has media ‘legs’ particularly in the run up to an important state election.
“Comments by Peter Dutton claiming people are afraid to go out in Melbourne because of African gangs are not only wrong, they are plain silly”, Hepatitis Victoria CEO Melanie Eagle said.
The reality is that there are youth from different ethnic and cultural backgrounds -including Sudan and other parts of Africa- fighting to help us win in the struggle against a potentially deadly foe which is viral hepatitis,” she said.
Viral hepatitis B and C disproportionally impact migrant and refugee communities and sadly up to 6 Victorians die every week of hepatitis-related liver disease, a greater number than the state road toll. In 2016, 1.34 million died of hepatitis related disease worldwide, more than the number who died from HIV or malaria.
“There is fantastic work being done at Hepatitis Victoria by youth from all cultural backgrounds, and many of them come from regions where there has been war and civil strife.
“Instead of race baiting our leaders should be calling for more social, health and education initiatives that could reduce alienation and increase employment and integration,” she said.
Sudanese volunteers at Hepatitis Victoria, for example, do research into how hepatitis is perceived by Sudanese communities and the considerations health authorities should take when approaching them for health promotion.
“This is work that could help people get treatment and actually save lives.”
“Our HepHeroes come from many different cultural and linguistic backgrounds and the fact we have such a diverse group shows how pervasive and challenging viral hepatitis is worldwide and why we need such a broad group to help overcome it,” said Ms Eagle.
Hepatitis Victoria has been vocal in its support of disadvantaged groups.
Look here for a video the organisation made recently called “Don’t turn your back on refugees”.