As part of the Strathfield Council Harmony Day festivities on Saturday March 19th 2016, volunteers from Hepatitis B Free and Concord Hospital offered free education and testing. There was a strong sense of community spirit and a celebration of cultural diversity, including various cultural performances in song and dance.
Hepatitis B is more common in certain populations in Sydney, including for people born or migrated from areas of high prevalence overseas. Many countries in the Asia Pacific have very high rates of hepatitis B, and it is especially important that people from these areas are vaccinated, educated and offered testing. Strathfield has a rich multicultural population, making this event a valuable way to engage in these communities, including Korean, Chinese, Indian and Sri Lankan communities.
Doctor and medical student volunteers educated more than 110 community members of various ages and ethnicities about hepatitis B. This included transmission, long-term health consequences such as liver cancer, and the benefits of vaccination and testing. Following education, more than 40 adults took up the offer for finger-prick testing. Promoting vaccination, testing and improving knowledge is an important part of preventing hepatitis B.
Article by Carrie Lee