Bear facts to boost hep B education
HEPATITIS B resources, featuring a cartoon character called Hepatitis B Bear, have been launched in a bid to improve low treatment and monitoring rates.
An estimated 170,000 people live with chronic hepatitis B in Australia – almost half of whom come from endemic countries of the Asia Pacific region – but only 2% receive treatment, experts say.
A DVD for patients and a flipchart featuring Hepatitis B Bear for health professionals to use during consultations are designed to better explain the phases of the disease to adults.
Dr Miriam Levy, the head of gastroenterology and hepatology at Liverpool Hospital in Sydney, said the disease was particularly complex for patients – and often health professionals – to understand.
“By increasing patient awareness of the different stages of the virus and the importance of proper management, we hope to increase the number of patients who participate in regular monitoring so they will get treatment when they need it,” Dr Levy said.
The aim over the next five years would be for 30% of people with chronic hepatitis B to be receiving treatment, with the other 70% being monitored, she said.
The DVD will be available at www.swslhd.nsw.gov.au and GPs can request the flipchart from Louise Smith at Sydney South West Area Health Service.
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