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What's the role of PHNs in fighting hepatitis?

7 May 2018

Chris Carter is the CEO of North West Melbourne Primary Health Network (NWMPHN) and a Hep Hero.

“Primary Health Networks can show leadership around advocacy, ensuring the message around blood-borne diseases, STIs and hepatitis gets forward in the public domain at the federal, state and community level,” he explains.

“The challenge is trying to get viral hepatitis front and centre and PHNs have a couple of roles; analysis of what is happening in the catchment and filling the gaps… we’re both a planner and a funder,” he says but it is a complicated problem to tackle.

“Stigma is a huge problem in terms of viral hepatitis and it is linked to so many other domains of human behaviour. Many people in our catchment are from cultural and linguistically diverse backgrounds, so often there are cultural and linguistic barriers: overlay that with GPs who may not be confident to talk about viral hepatitis because of their own belief system, (all this) makes it tricky for people to raise the issue and tackle the virus,” he says.

Chris talks about further steps that need to be taken if we are to achieve ambitious 2030 state goals for the total elimination of viral hepatitis. These include the need for more engagement from federal and state government in the prevention space.

Finally, he discusses the impact of recent awareness campaigns such as ‘Love Your Liver’ funded by NWMPHN and developed by Hepatitis Victoria.

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