WIMMERA health and community workers have a rare opportunity to learn from specialists at a forum in Nhill next week.
The hepatitis B and C workshop will help people learn more about the disease, which affects hundreds of thousands of Australians but often goes undiagnosed.
Both strains are viruses that attack the liver. Vital hepatitis causes 85 per cent of liver cancer, which is the fastest-growing cause of death from cancer in Australia.
The half-day event at Nhill Hospital on Wednesday will provide strategies for identifying and working with clients and communities at risk, and allow workers to update their skills and knowledge in hepatitis prevention and management.
West Wimmera Health Service community health director Alex Hall said the workshop was a fantastic chance for people to learn from experts in the field from Ballarat and Melbourne.
St Vincent Hospital’s viral hepatitis educator Gabrielle Bennett – who will present on the day – said viral hepatitis was a growing health issue, and the Nhill workshop was an important first step to starting the conversation among health professionals in the western Wimmera.
“By increasing the awareness and skills of health and community workers across the region, we can better help people at risk of contracting hepatitis B or C,” she said.
“At the same time, we want to help remove the stigma associated with the disease so that anyone affected can understand the risks to their health and seek the treatment and care that they require.”
Organisers said the event was free but people needed to register at www.westvicphn.com.au/health-professionals/events by Monday.
The workshop will run from 9.30am to 2pm.
The event is a collaboration between the health service, St Vincent’s Hospital, Ballarat Community Health and Western Victoria Primary Health Network.
It is open to nurses, community workers, refugee health workers, general practitioners, Aboriginal health workers, midwives, maternal child and health nurses, and practice nurses.