The Hepatitis C Mapping Project aims to facilitate a comprehensive understanding of chronic hepatitis C (CHC) in Australia. The data and analysis can be used to inform targeted awareness and intervention campaigns to suit the particular local needs of people living with CHC and those providing services to them. The Project is a joint initiative of the WHO Collaborating Centre for Viral Hepatitis Epidemiology, The Doherty Institute and ASHM, funded by the Australian Government Department of Health.
The First National Hepatitis C Mapping Project Report contains estimates for 2016 on the prevalence, diagnosis, monitoring and treatment of hepatitis C at the SA3, Primary Health Network and State/Territory level. For the first time, maps illustrating the geographical diversity of CHC prevalence and treatment are included in the report. These highlight local areas where improvements in engagement in care can be made.
These estimates can be used to judge the progress Australia has made towards the National Hepatitis C Strategy 2014-2017 targets, as well as the WHO Global Health Sector Strategy on Viral Hepatitis 2016-2021.
Around 227,306 people were estimated to be living with CHC in Australia in 2016, approximately 0.94% of the population. Treatment for hepatitis C has undergone a revolution in recent years, with highly effective, short-duration, and well tolerated curative treatments now available and subsidised in Australia for all adults living with hepatitis C.
Enhancing access to treatment and care, a priority action in the National Hepatitis C Strategy, relies on people receiving information, being diagnosed, and being able to access treatment in their communities.
Localised priority-setting is a key objective of recent healthcare reform in Australia. The geographic mapping of the burden of diseases such as CHC allows for the prioritisation of health interventions and improvement of local service delivery in areas of the greatest need.
The geographically uneven distribution of CHC presents the opportunity to engage with, and improve awareness within, affected communities through the targeting of high prevalence areas.
Additionally, identifying areas where access to appropriate diagnosis and treatment is lowest relative to the estimated prevalence of CHC provides the opportunity to prioritise interventions and local service delivery.
This report will be updated annually, to reflect both the shifting epidemiology of CHC in Australia and evaluate the impact of public health and clinical service interventions on increasing access to diagnosis and treatment at a population level over time.
The WHO Collaborating Centre for Viral Hepatitis Epidemiology, The Doherty Institute and ASHM are working in partnership to produce a comprehensive understanding of the epidemiology of hepatitis C in Australia. The Hepatitis C Mapping Project commenced in 2017 and is funded by the Australian Department of Health.