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Over 100 attend Bendigo Community Health Service lunch

9 August 2018

Hepatitis Victoria has announced nineteen grant recipients to celebrate World Hepatitis Day (28 July) in conjunction with the organisation’s two-month long LIVERability Festival held July through August every year. 

Small grants of up to $1,000 were offered to community and not-for-profit organisations to conduct activities –often including a breakfast, lunch or tea- to raise awareness of viral hepatitis and reduce the stigma and discrimination associated with the disease.

“Our small grants go to an amazing array of community projects, from the length and breadth of the state,” said Hepatitis Victoria CEO Melanie Eagle.

“Whether it’s a Love Your Liver lunch with Indigenous elders, a puppet show, or afternoon tea with ‘HEP Bingo’ they all help raise awareness about viral hepatitis and break down the stigma that surrounds this condition,” said Melanie.

The Hepatitis Victoria grants program has been running for eight years and this year’s recipients were delighted with the recognition and support.

Grant recipient Bendigo Community Health Service ran a ‘Liver health and hepatitis in our community’ session in Bendigo on 8 August attended by over 100 people, including health professionals and the Karen migrant community living in the area. The event was a perfect example of how LIVERability Festival grants can be used to raise awareness about liver health. Support and collaboration from Bendigo Health and Bendigo TAFE made an important contribution to its success. Speakers included Bendigo Health liver nurse Louise Holland, infectious disease expert Dr Andrew Mahony and HEP Speaker and HEP Hero Aye Aye Khaing. A Karen interpreter was also present.

“We know that hepatitis B is an issue among migrant communities coming to Australia, especially those from south-east Asian backgrounds like Myanmar, “said Hepatitis Stigma Response Coordinator Jack Gunn who also spoke at the event.

“The turnout was great opportunity to connect with the local health workforce and engage with the Karen community and to highlight why it’s important to get tested for viral hepatitis and look after your liver health,” he said.  

Raising awareness about viral hepatitis is one of Hepatitis Victoria’s most important tasks as ignorance and stigma lead to the death of up to 6 Victorians every week from the consequences of the condition.

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