Queensland's first hepatitis B alliance meeting wrap up

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In November 2021, the first meeting of the newly established Queensland Hepatitis B Alliance (QHBA) took place. The alliance will meet quarterly and help drive Queensland’s response to eliminate the hepatitis B virus (HBV), now the most prevalent blood-borne virus in the state.

During the meeting, Jennifer MacLachlan from the Doherty Institute provided an overview of current Queensland HBV mapping data.

The alliance highlighted the diversity of Queensland regions, acknowledging potential genotype-drive differences in the need for treatment and the appropriateness of a blanket treatment measurement. Interpretation of existing treatment and care indicators should consider this diversity.

Discussions continuously recognised the need for targeted, localised responses to suit highly variable communities and regions, emphasising communities experiencing higher prevalence and low access to care.

Support for an HBV registry is motivated by the success of the community-led Northern Territory HBV registry. There is hesitancy for this approach in Queensland as some communities may not support a registry due to previous overseas experiences.

The alliance began identifying recommendations for the next update of the QLD Hepatitis B Action Plan, which will lead the strategic direction for 2023-2030.

Recommendations included:

  • Recognition that HBV prevalence is highly variable across QLD regions and communities
  • The importance of funding for localised, targeted approaches to support early identification and treatment of at-risk subgroups
  • More support for broad screening activities
  • Support action on targeted treatment for those diagnosed
  • Funding for a place-based targeted model of care
  • Targeted support for GPs in practices and regions with higher prevalence to test, treat and manage HBV
  • Decentralised care will improve primary care workforce capability and alleviate unnecessary referrals to tertiary care. Utilising ‘Champion GPs’ in practices or within a locality can achieve this aim. Champion GPs can help educate and support others to treat and manage HBV patients
  • Decentralise hospital services by funding more outreach
  • Encourage GPs to make the most of GP management plans and HealthPathways

The next meeting will continue to explore recommendations alongside presentations from different programs across the state.

Hepatitis Queensland will host the next meeting online, February 24th, 12-1.30pm. Please email Katelin at ceo@hepqld.asn.au if you are interested in joining QHBA.

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