Image: Burnet Program Director (Disease Elimination) Associate Professor Heidi Drummer
The need to increase testing to increase diagnosis, and the importance of partnerships to enhance and expand services in Australia were the key themes of Burnet Institute’s World Hepatitis Day Symposium.
Guest presenters included Hepatitis Victoria CEO Melanie Eagle on why testing for hepatitis C needs to be more accessible, Harm Reduction Victoria Acting Executive Officer Charles Henderson on the issues around treatment for people who inject drugs, and Healthworks GP Fran Bramwell on enhancing testing and treatment in primary care.
Among the Burnet presenters were Dr Alisa Pedrana who provided an overview of the EC Partnership, which aims to increase hepatitis c treatment uptake, using nurse-led models, Mr Chad Hughes on point-of-care testing in the Asia-Pacific region, and Dr Jacqui Richmond on expanding the healthcare workforce.
Burnet Deputy Director (Programs) Professor Margaret Hellard announced via video the awarding of an NHMRC Program Grant commencing in 2018 to explore partnerships to increase hepatitis C testing and prevention, and the promotion of community-based point-of-care testing.
Burnet’s Disease Elimination Program Director, Associate Professor Heidi Drummer highlighted some key issues including the urgent need for a hepatitis vaccine, and stopping stigma and discrimination for people living with viral hepatitis.
“We need a hepatitis vaccine to prevent new infections and to stop people who’ve been treated becoming reinfected. A vaccine is essential to achieve elimination of hepatitis C by 2030,” Associate Professor Drummer said.
Dr Peter Higgs presented in the Future Directions session that some people living with viral hepatitis chose not to to be treated because they preferred non-hospital care models.
Dr Richmond pointed out that low health literacy for HCV among primary healthcare providers remains a problem, and was one of the key issues she faced.
Image: The Burnet World Hepatitis Day Symposium presenters
Thanks to all the presenters on a very informative day.
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