Your liver needs your love, too
19 June 2018
Hepatitis Victoria’s Love Your Liver-Regional health awareness campaign is being rolled out this week in Shepparton and progressively in Dandenong, Frankston, and Moe over the coming months. It will then be released in Brimbank, Maribyrnong and Mildura next year. Find out more about liver health here.
“Love Your Liver-Regional aims to break down the fear and misunderstanding surrounding hepatitis B, hepatitis C and liver health in general, and ram home the message that people living with viral hepatitis can lead happy, healthy lives”, said Melanie Eagle CEO Hepatitis Victoria.
The new slogan “Your liver needs your love, too” encourages people to think not only of their heart, lungs and intestines, but also of their hardest-working organ –and one of the only ones able to regenerate itself- the mighty liver!
“We are using a number of different channels to raise awareness in Shepparton, for example, there are radio commercials and ads in the local paper as well as a social media campaign,” she said.
Each regional campaign is combined with a HEPReady® Workshop for professional community and health workers who have a vital role brining knowledge to their communities.
“The overall goal is to get people thinking about their livers and the importance of caring for this vital organ for better overall health,” Melanie said.
The campaign, funded by the Victoria’s Department of Health and Human Services, kicks off in Shepparton, which is timely as the evidence shows viral hepatitis is a very serious problem in the region.
Mayor of Shepparton Cr Kim O’Keefe welcomed the launch of the campaign and the HEPReady® Workshop which was held on 14 June.
“Viral hepatitis is one of the chief causes of liver cancer, the fastest growing cancer in Australia and having a course like HEPReady® in Shepparton is important, as it offers knowledge and tools for our health and community workers to help deal with the problem right away. Both hepatitis B and C can be managed, and hepatitis C can be cured, so I urge everyone to think about loving your liver a little bit more, and talking to your GP about getting a liver test,” she said.
Fern Summer, Shepparton City Councillor and practice nurse said, “…we must not ignore the devastating impact of liver disease, it’s a health crisis that affects not only the people living with viral hepatitis in Shepparton, but their families and the wider community. I applaud Hepatitis Victoria for bringing their HEPReady® course here and urge all health and community workers who can to attend this worthy course and become better informed’.
According to the Doherty Institute’s National Mapping Project Report 2016, .76% (nearly 1 per cent) of the population in Shepparton is living with hepatitis B compared to .57% for the rest of the Murray Primary Health Network region. The rates of treatment uptake and care are also very low 4.8% and 15.1% respectively.
For hepatitis C, the stats reveal 1.44% of the Shepparton population living with the virus compared to .98% in the Murray region, and only 11.3% taking up treatment compared to 18.1% for the Murray region as a whole.
“The campaign aims to encourage people to have conversations about liver health with their family and friends, so that they take positive steps to manage their health. Those steps include thinking about their risk factors, talking to their GP, and if necessary getting tested for hepatitis B and/or hepatitis C,” Melanie said.
There is a vaccination against hepatitis B, and while it can’t be cured, with proper care and treatment, people with hepatitis B can live[r] well. Hepatitis C can now be cured – and there are a range of new treatments available under the PBS.
“Viral hepatitis is not the death sentence it once was and yes, it is a serious condition, but diagnosed and treated in a timely manner, it need not have a serious impact on people’s lives,” Melanie said.
More liver health news.