A Call to Arms – GPs of Australia to Eliminate Hepatitis C!

(A report back on Dr Ashton Kelly's session - Managing Hepatitis C in a very remote location in the Northern Territory - Treating Hepatitis C in General Practice Forum)

I was very fortunate indeed to receive a scholarship to attend  Treating Hepatitis C in General Practice Forum (12 August 2018) in Adelaide.

I am amazed how my knowledge about Hepatitis C has increased in just one day.  I am GP based in Alice Springs NT and before attending this Forum was referring my patients to the visiting Hapatologist Professor Bob Beaty for the treatment of Hepatitis C. Now ASHM has provided me with a golden opportunity to learn about the new drugs DAA  (Direct Acting Anti-viral) used for the treatment of Hepatitis C

Although these drugs have been available on the market since March 2016, I have never prescribed these drugs to my patients as I was not confident in their use. Now after attending this forum, I will follow the protocol and hopefully I will be able to manage and treat my patients on my own. This forum has provided me with additional knowledge of treating Hepatitis C in remote locations of Northern Australia where the Indigenous population has different languages and premature death is higher than other Australians. 

This forum gave me more confidence to build a good relationship with the specialist and gain the trust to treat my patients with new DAA in a primary care setting. 

I also learned about HCV therapeutic development and what happens if DAA treatment fails. 

Different options for Hep--C with Cirrhosis /or without Cirrhosis treatment experience VS Reinfection and risk behaviour modification. 

I also learned an eHealth model of care for the community treatment of hepatitis C useful in remote settings. How we deliver treatment in High risk groups, how we can empower more community prescribers, what are the potential benefits, needs to develop clinical decision support systems to automatically check drug interactions, calculation of treatment options based on national guidelines and an electronic referral of plan for specialist approval. 

I also learned that GP management of chronic hepatitis C in Aboriginal Medical Services are more important for me as I am working in this setting and pay my respect to all indigenous Australians and their culture. I gained more confidence and knowledge to assess, manage, refer patients with Cirrhosis in a General Practice setting especially with remote indigenous populations. 

The aim of the forum was elimination of hepatitis C by 2030 in Australia. It is up to us (the GPs of Australia) to stand and heed the call to arms. It was requested that all GPs visit   

https://www.ashm.org.au/HCV/aus-gps-end-hep-c/ to sign the pledge! Feel free to share the link on social media as well.