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Summit seeks solutions to hepatitis in Victoria’s key affected communities

24 July 2017

A summit on solutions to viral hepatitis in key affected communities will be held at Victorian Parliament this morning (10.00am, 24/7) by state health promotion peak Hepatitis Victoria and the Ethnic Communities’ Council of Victoria.

'Hepatitis is potentially deadly and affects everyone, but culturally diverse and Aboriginal communities face a higher toll, so we need a greater focus on reaching them with prevention, testing and treatment that can stop liver damage in its tracks,' said Melanie Eagle, Chief Executive Officer of Hepatitis Victoria, today.

Hepatitis B and C together cause nearly six deaths a week in Victoria, where around 110,000 people are among the 500,000 living with chronic hepatitis around Australia.

'To tackle this preventable and treatable disease we need to not only raise awareness, but pull down the potentially deadly barriers of stigma and discrimination that can prevent people seeking help. Today we’re hearing not just from experts, but drawing on the insights and leadership of the communities themselves,' said Eddie Micallef, Chairperson of the Ethnic Communities' Council of Victoria.

High prevalence in culturally diverse communities results from many factors – including access to health services in countries of origin, poor health literacy, and broader socio-economic disadvantage.

'Together we can fundamentally change the future for people at risk or affected by hepatitis B and C. All Victorians deserve to live longer, fuller and healthier lives, free from stigma and discrimination – and the Victorian Government is determined to lead the charge,' Minister for Health Jill Hennessy said.

The Minister will appear at the event via video message, preceding presentations from the Hon. Frank McGuire MP, Parliamentary Secretary for Medical Science, and the Chairperson of the Victorian Multicultural Commission, Helen Kapalos.

In July 2016, the Victorian Government launched major strategies to eliminate viral hepatitis B and C in Victoria by 2030. The May State Budget provided $1.3 million over four years to increase hepatitis B vaccinations in CALD communities.

Culturally diverse communities and the hepatitis challenge – towards elimination will be held from 10.00am–12.00pm in the Queen's Hall at the Parliament of Victoria.

The event is part of the LIVERability Festival, a diverse program of community events around World Hepatitis Day on Friday 28 July and the global #NoHep campaign.

Hepatitis Victoria Infoline 1800 703 003

For media inquiries, please contact Darren Lewin-Hill, Communications Manager, on 0447 692 663.

Category: News
Tags: LIVERability festival, world hepatitis day,