Taking Action on Hepatitis B Elimination In Queensland
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On Wednesday 8th of September, stakeholders across Brisbane convened for the second HIPHOP (Hepatitis Inreach Programs, Hepatitis Outreach Programs) meeting titled: Partners in progress, taking action on hep B elimination in Queensland.
Our guest speakers included Marrianne Black from ECCQ who spoke about the gaps and opportunities as well as learnings from COVID-19 and the impact the pandemic has had in regards to people being diagnosed, treated and being engaged in care.
We then heard from Lana Richardson and Dr Jonathan Leitch on the exciting B stronger project. Lana shared about the importance of engaging with the community as well as findings from the clinical audit tool.
Our final speaker Jo Durham presented the findings from the Migrant Blood-borne virus and sexual health survey and how these learnings can better inform and measure progress against national strategies and state action plans for BBV/STIs.
The panel discussion segment was outstanding, and one could hear, in the voices of many, a sense of urgency of not forgetting hepatitis B as a priority in Queensland. A particular focus was around what our panellist wanted to see in the new action plans. Some of the suggestions included:
- Inclusion of BBV/STI screening to 715 health checks
- Structural changes to consider screening for all hepatitis B markers when a health practitioner request for hep B serology
- Advocate for hepatitis C RNA reflexive testing
- Incentivising 6 monthly checkups for high priority groups
- At a Federal level, Medicare rebate to incentivise GP’s to screen for BBVs
- Registry for hepatitis B to remind people when to get checkups, liver cancer prevention
- Investment into more bicultural health workers all throughout Queensland
- Advocate for electronic records in prison and ensuring GP’s are allowed access (better integration of patient information across different systems).
A final outcome from this meeting was the establishment of a Queensland Hepatitis B Alliance. The alliance would be an independent, multi-disciplinary community of practice that aims to build momentum behind Queensland’s response to hepatitis B elimination. It would be made up of individual and organisational representatives, that would meet quarterly and provide a unique opportunity for networking and exchange of information.
To learn more about the Queensland Hepatitis B Alliance or for information to join, please contact Katelin at firstname.lastname@example.org to discuss further.