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Article << Previous     |     Next >>   Contents Vol 20(2)

Responding to Australia’s National Hepatitis B Strategy 2010–13: gaps in knowledge and practice in relation to Indigenous Australians

Anna Olsen A C , Jack Wallace B and Lisa Maher A

A The Kirby Institute, The University of New South Wales, Sydney, NSW 2052, Australia.
B Australian Research Centre in Sex, Health and Society, Latrobe University, 215 Franklin Street, Melbourne, Vic. 3000, Australia.
C Corresponding author. Email: aolsen@kirby.unsw.edu.au

Australian Journal of Primary Health 20(2) 134-142 http://dx.doi.org/10.1071/PY12162
Submitted: 18 December 2012  Accepted: 27 August 2013   Published: 12 November 2013


 
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Abstract

The Australian National Hepatitis B Strategy 2010–13 outlines five priority areas for developing a comprehensive response to the hepatitis B virus (HBV): building partnerships and strengthening community action; preventing HBV transmission; optimising diagnosis and screening; clinical management of people with chronic hepatitis B (CHB); and developing health maintenance, care and support for people with HBV. A scoping study was used to map the main sources and types of evidence available on the epidemiology and natural history of HBV among Indigenous Australians as well as public health responses published since 2001 (January 2001–May 2013). Gaps in current knowledge were identified. While the literature documents the success of universal infant immunisation and indicates the potential for screening initiatives to identify infected and susceptible individuals, prevalence of CHB and hepatocellular cancer remain high in Indigenous Australians. Significant gaps in knowledge and practice were identified in relation to each of the five National Hepatitis B Strategy priority action areas. Successful implementation of the strategy in Indigenous communities and reducing the burden of HBV and hepatocellular cancer in Indigenous Australians will require increased investment in research and knowledge transfer across all priority areas.

Additional keywords: Aboriginal, policy.


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