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A/Prof Christopher Carter, CEO of North Western Melbourne PHN
“I am a Hep Hero because I believe that with a coordinated response we can reduce new infections, provide better care and save lives.”
Viral hepatitis is a large and growing issue in the north and west of Melbourne, with some of the highest rates of chronic hepatitis B and C in Victoria found in parts of the region.
As the CEO of North Western Melbourne PHN it is my goal, and that of my organisation, to help people living with hepatitis get the care they need, when and where they need it.
To do that we’re partnering with local health providers and organisations, coordinating our approach to improve education and prevention, as well as improving access to testing and treatment.
One of the key things we’ve done is to fund and support the development of the Hepatitis B Story, a plain language education resource that helps doctors talk with their patients about how to prevent, treat and live with hepatitis B.
It’s now available in range of key community languages, helping people from a non-English speaking background or with low health literacy to understand their condition and how they can help themselves stay healthy.
We’re also working in partnership with Western Health, Co-health and Hepatitis Victoria to improve care coordination, access, treatment and education for people living with hepatitis in Melbourne’s West, and are in the process of developing a targeted hepatitis strategy.
These actions, especially around educating the community, are particularly important when it comes to hepatitis, because every case of viral hepatitis is potentially preventable.
We have a very effective vaccine for hepatitis B, and with better education, support and services we can help reduce transmission of both hepatitis B and C.