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Dandenong Forum on 19 July to deal with urgent health issue

5 July 2018

Dandenong and Melbourne’s South-East region has some of the highest rates of hepatitis B and hepatitis C in Victoria combined with low rates of treatment uptake and care.

A free forum highlighting on how to tackle viral hepatitis and promote overall better liver health is being held on 19 July in Dandenong. Register for the workshop.

“The forum will be very useful for health and community workers as the focus is on developing leadership to improve the health of our livers, but community members keen to understand and help tackle this serious health problem should attend,” said CEO of Hepatitis Victoria, Melanie Eagle.

Both hepatitis B and hepatitis C are debilitating and if not detected can also be deadly leading to liver cancer -Australia’s fastest growing cancer.

“It’s no exaggeration to say we can save lives by raising awareness but to do this effectively all the services which support the community must be engaged in the battle with this silent epidemic,” Melanie said.

The event is receiving strong support from the Greater Dandenong City Council and its Mayor, Cr Youhorn Chea, and State Member for Dandenong the Parliamentary Health Secretary Gabrielle Williams, both of whom will speak at the forum.

“The prevalence of chronic hepatitis B in Greater Dandenong is the second highest in Victoria, and reports of chronic hepatitis C are twice the rate of the state average,” said Greater Dandenong City Council Mayor, Cr Youhorn Chea.

“The seriousness of this issue cannot be underestimated, particularly for our community,” he said.

“The Victorian Government is focussed on eliminating hepatitis B and hepatitis C by 2030, but to reach this goal we need more knowledge and awareness of the liver and promoting liver health. Today’s forum in Dandenong, where the issue is a really pressing one for our community, is an important step in the right direction,” said State Member for Dandenong the Parliamentary Health Secretary, Gabrielle Williams. 

Hepatitis Victoria, the peak body advocating on behalf of people living with viral hepatitis, is holding the forum including lunch with tea and coffee generously provided by the Greater Dandenong City Council. 

Supported by the Victorian Department of Health and Human Services and Greater Dandenong City Council the forum will bring a local perspective to the testing, treatment, management, care and prevention of viral hepatitis and overall liver health. 

“The workshop is an excellent opportunity for those who may engage with people living with viral hepatitis and liver disease to develop enhanced professional skills and strengthen networks,” said Melanie.

Expert speakers will present on the epidemiology and prevalence of hepatitis B, hepatitis C and liver disease and recent developments in the management of these conditions impacting South East Melbourne.

According to the Doherty Institute’s National Mapping Project Report 2016, 2.13% of the population in Dandenong is living with hepatitis B compared to .98% for the rest of the South-East Melbourne Primary Health Network region. The rates of treatment uptake and care in Dandenong are 14.8% and 41.9% respectively which are better than the region as a whole (8.5% and 22.1% respectively).

1.34% of the Dandenong population live with the hepatitis C compared to .79% in the South-East Melbourne region with 20.8% taking up treatment compared to 25.1% for the region as a whole.

An estimated 6 Victorians die each week from viral hepatitis related liver disease, the same number of deaths as the state roll toll.

  

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