The Hep B PAST – Partnership Approach to Sustainably eliminating Chronic Hepatitis B in the Northern Territory - is working towards the elimination of Chronic Hepatitis B (CHB) from Indigenous Australians in the Northern Territory. The project aims to do this by:
improving health literacy amongst Indigenous communities, people living with CHB, and primary healthcare providers, and
improving the cascade of care for individuals living with CHB in the NT.
The project, led by Dr Jane Davies at Menzies School of Health Research (Menzies) and supported by the NT Department of Health, is funded by a National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC) partnership grant. It also brings together collaborators from
Katherine West Health Board Aboriginal Corporation, Miwatj Health Aboriginal Corporation, the NT AIDS and Hepatitis Council and ASHM.
As part of this project, courses focused on upskilling Aboriginal Health Practitioners (AHPs) and Aboriginal Community Workers (ACWs) have been developed and delivered with the aim of increasing access to hepatitis B treatment and management, and improving the cascade of care and continuity of care. The course was first piloted in Maningrida and Batchelor and then further refined. To date, it has formally been delivered in Darwin, Katherine and Nhulunbuy alongside the ASHM hepatitis B prescriber program for GPs.
Over 50 AHPs and ACWs have been trained since May 2019. Feedback from participants demonstrated considerable impact on their knowledge, confidence and practice skills. Participants emphasised the need for culturally appropriate hepatitis B training for Aboriginal Health Workers and responded that this course fulfils this need. One participant stated the course was “the most culturally safe training [they have] ever had.”
Following completion of the course, ACWs and AHPs are also encouraged to form ‘core clinical groups’ with clinicians. These groups are coordinated by registered nurse Kelly Hosking to further improve the cascade of care in the Northern Territory and to ensure that Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples have input into the care that they receive.
For further information on the Hep B PAST project see https://www.menzies.edu.au/page/Research/Projects/Hepatitis_B/Hep_B_PAST/
For more information on how the project has used serocoding to provide targeted treatment responses see Hep B PAST – concepts, progress and partnerships audio recording and presentation or read this report back from the Australasian Viral Hepatitis Elimination Conference by GP Prescriber Catherine Gargan