Saturday 29th April, 2017
Villawood Senior Citizens Centre, Villawood
On Saturday 29th April, 2017, Hepatitis B Free was invited for the third time to work with the Burmese community in Sydney to promote hepatitis B awareness and provide free testing. Every month as part of the Burmese community aged project, seniors meet together and do exercises, share healthy food, and engage in health awareness presentations.
These opportunities are facilitated by Dr Moe Moe Thinn, a paediatrician who was born in Myanmar and completed her medical training in Sydney. Both Dr Moe Moe Thinn and Dr Su Htun (obstetrician) were instrumental in engaging and communicating with members of the Burmese community. They both presented in Burmese about health topics – Dr Su Htun spoke about women’s health, and Dr Moe Moe Thinn ran a question and answer session about hepatitis B. It is one thing to stand in front of a crowded audience and talk about hepatitis B. Imagine doing this in another language!
As in previous years, we set up a stall in the foyer with brochures in English and Burmese about hepatitis B, consent forms, and medical equipment for the point of care testing. It is a simple finger test that takes about 20 minutes for results. As a screening test, it isn’t 100% sensitive, so we recommend undertaking a more comprehensive blood test with their regular GP as well as ensuring that their vaccinations are up to date.
Rates of hepatitis B are high in Myanmar. One study found that around 9.7% of migrant workers from Myanmar were positive for hepatitis B surface antigen (HBsAg), the marker of chronic infection. It is therefore important that we continue to work with the Burmese community in Sydney to improve hepatitis B awareness, testing and care. Hepatitis B Free also continues to collaborate with the Myanmar Liver Foundation and Medical Action Myanmar to develop hepatitis B and C projects in Yangon, Myanmar.
Report by Carrie Lee