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Workshop to focus on Brimbank health concern

8 February 2019

Brimbank has the highest rate of hepatitis B and one of the highest rates hepatitis C in Victoria combined with worryingly low rates of treatment uptake, and care.

According to research, more than 4000 people in Brimbank are living with viral hepatitis but many are unaware or are not getting treated for their condition.  

Both hepatitis B and hepatitis C are debilitating diseases and if not treated can lead to liver cancer -Australia’s fastest growing cancer.

A free workshop highlighting how to tackle the challenge of viral hepatitis and promote overall better liver health is being held at the Victoria University Conference Centre, Sunshine on Thursday 7 March. Register for workshop.

The free workshop is part of a campaign that started this week in Brimbank GP surgeries, on the backs of buses, and in local shopping centres calling for people to get tested and, if they are living with viral hepatitis, to get treated. Links to the campaign material can be accessed here. 

“Raising awareness can save lives, but to do this effectively all the services which support the community must be engaged in the battle with this very silent and ignored epidemic,” said CEO of Hepatitis Victoria, Melanie Eagle.

“The workshop will be very practical session for health and community workers as the focus is on developing leadership to improve liver health. The forum will also be useful for anyone keen to understand this serious health problem,” Melanie said.

Hepatitis Victoria, the peak body advocating on behalf of people living with viral hepatitis, is hosting the event including lunch with tea and coffee provided. 

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

“The prevalence of chronic hepatitis B in Brimbank is the highest in Victoria, and reports of chronic hepatitis C are among the highest in the state,” said Brimbank Council Mayor, Cr Lucinda Congreve.

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

Expert and lived-experience 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.

According to the Doherty Institute’s National Mapping Project Report 2016, 1.14% of people in Brimbank (1,525), and 1.37% of people in Maribyrnong (1,021) are living with hepatitis C, and less than a quarter of those have accessed the  treatment now available through the PBS. 

Rates of Hepatitis B are higher. 2.08% of people in Brimbank (2,793) and 1.71% of people in Maribyrnong (1,281) live with the condition. Less than half are accessing treatment to manage the condition.   

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

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