28 July 2016: Today on World Hepatitis Day–only one of a handful of 'World Health Days' officially recognised by the World Health Organization, we reference the World Health Assembly's committment in May 2016 of adopting the Global Strategy for viral hepatitis, which commits all countries to working towards the goal of eliminating viral hepatitis as a public health threat by 2030.
Australia is leading the way for a NOhep future focusing on treatment as the important step on the road to elimination of viral hepatitis. World Hepatitis Day in Australia is coordinated nationally by Hepatitis Australia and rolled out at local level by Hepatitis Australia member and partner organisations.
Australia leads the world in curing hepatitis C as record numbers treated was the triumphant title of a joint press release between the Kirby Institute, Hepatitis Australia and the Doherty Institute highlighting the incredible achievement of 22,470 Australians having commenced hep C treatment since new generation hepatitis C cures were made available on the Pharmaceutical Benefits Schemes five months ago. This puts Australia on track to cure more people with hepatitis C this year than in the past twenty years of interferon-therapy.
ASHM reaffirms its commitment to seeing the virtual eradication of viral hepatitis by supporting the health workforce in Australia, New Zealand and the Asia and Pacific Regions to achieve this—through education and training; policy and advocacy; direct action and leadership.
Since July 2015, ASHM has delivered 85 training courses across Australia and one in New Zealand. Of these, 61 involved Hepatitis B and Hepatitis Ceducation sessions. Four HBV s100 Prescriber courses were run, leading to the accreditation of 84 new HBV s100 community prescribers. Since the introduction of direct-acting antivirals for HCV on 1 March, ASHM has trained 304 GPs and 193 nurses in their usage, through both face to face courses and online webinars. ASHM is committed to ensuring that our training initiatives support the uptake of these medications into both hospital and community settings, to work towards the WHO goal of eliminating viral hepatitis as a public health threat by 2030.
Throughout 2016, we continue our work in the national delivery of quality accreditated educational resources and training in the health management of Hepatitis B and Hepatitis C for a broad range of clinicians, not just general practitioners. This includes our Viral Hepatitis Mentoring Program, Nurses Program, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Program and work with Community Pharmacy. While GPs usually make up the majority of participants in our courses, sexual health physicians, AoD and general physicians as well as ID physicians who might be wanting to update their viral hepatitis skills are encouraged to attend.
Lastly, in moving towards making the elimination of viral hepatitis our next big achievement, we urge all our members in the society to join us in becoming part of an exciting delegation at the 10th Australasian Viral Hepatitis Conference. Don't miss out on this 3-day meeting where leadership, science and community meet for advancing prevention, treatment and management of viral hepatitis.