Passions shine ahead National Hep B Symposium

The second National Hepatitis B Community Education Symposium is being held in Melbourne next week.  Following on from the successful 2017 Symposium, Hepatitis Australia is once again bringing together community based educators from around the country to shine a light on local projects aimed at increasing community knowledge about hepatitis B. The projects were made possible through a grants project funded by the Australian Government and administered by Hepatitis Australia.

An example of the passion that exists among those involved was recently highlighted in this article by Caitlyn Rintoul for the Mandurah Mail in Western Australia.

Mandurah woman leads the way at national conference on hepatitis B

 Leading the way: Since October 2016, Virginia Pitts has been an ambassador for Hepatitis WA. Photo: Caitlyn Rintoul.

Leading the way: Since October 2016, Virginia Pitts has been an ambassador for Hepatitis WA. Photo: Caitlyn Rintoul.

A local woman, passionate about educating Mandurah’s migrant community about hepatitis B has been selected to [co-present at] a national symposium on the virus in Melbourne.

The conference, held on May 8-9, aims to teach attendees from around Australia about the importance of providing adequate community information sessions.

Hepatitis B is transmitted through contact with the blood or other body fluids of an infected person. It can be passed on from mother to child during childbirth.

Since October 2016, Virginia Pitts has been an ambassador for Hepatitis WA – a non-profit community-based organisation providing free services to people.

In that time, Ms Pitts has held 12 informative sessions for migrants living in the Mandurah community.

Ms Pitts is also the Peel Multicultural Association president and said her role has helped her reach the broader migrant community across the region.

She said due to its increased population of migrants in Australia had been red flagged as a hotspot for the virus.

“There isn’t enough awareness. I wasn’t aware when I first came here,” she said.

While hepatitis B has never affected Ms Pitts or her family, she said it was important that fellow migrants learnt about the virus.

Ms Pitts said hepatitis B was one of the leading causes of liver cancer.

Through her role as ambassador, Ms Pitts has also organised free blood tests for Mandurah locals.

For more information on the virus or on the national symposium visit the Hepatitis Australia website or contact their information line via 1800 437 222.