About

MHAHS works with communities within a community development framework and recognises the best and most appropriate responses to health issues come from the communities themselves.

Our approach is also based on the principle that understanding the impact of culture and language on health is central to improving health literacy and community access to health services.

As culturally and linguistically diverse communities often experience health care inequities, it is important that programs are targeted and culturally appropriate.

By engaging and working in close partnership with communities and other key services, we are able to implement a range of health promotion strategies that respect cultural values while building community capacity and reducing the impact of HIV and viral hepatitis.

When determining which communities to work with we take into account a range of data including global prevalence rates, NSW notification data, local demographic profiles and migration patterns, as well as considering the burden of disease, community need and community infrastructure.

Each year, MHAHS works intensively with two priority communities in NSW. Currently, we are working with the Arabic-speaking community in relation to hepatitis C and the Vietnamese community in relation to chronic hepatitis B.

Both projects aim to increase community awareness and understanding of the virus, increase access to testing and linkage to care, as well as reduce transmission and discrimination towards those living with the virus.

Key strategies include:

  • Community consultation
  • Establishment of project advisory committees inclusive of representatives from peak community organisations, and key hepatitis and health services
  • Community education and distribution of consumer resources
  • Ethnic media campaigns
  • Participation in community events and festivals
  • Workforce development including training for general practitioners, community workers and health staff.

Contact

  • Arabic Community Development Project - hepatitis C
  • Faten Solaqa, Project Officer
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  • Phone: 9515 1234
  • Vietnamese Community Development Project - hepatitis B
  • Kim Trang, Project Officer
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  • Phone: 9515 1234

Hepatitis B Alliance NSW

The majority of the 218 000 people living with chronic hepatitis B in Australia were born in regions of the world where hepatitis B is very common. These regions include East Asia, sub-Saharan Africa, the Asia Pacific region, parts of Eastern and Central Europe and the Middle East. About half of the people living with chronic hepatitis B do not know they have it and therefore cannot benefit from effective treatments. If left untreated, chronic hepatitis B can lead to liver damage, liver failure and death.

The MHAHS recognises that engaging culturally and linguistically diverse (CALD) communities is central to effectively tackling hepatitis B. For this reason, in 2013 the MHAHS called on leaders from affected communities to form the Hepatitis B Community Alliance. The Alliance is a community-based group, supported by the MHAHS, which aims to improve hepatitis B health outcomes in priority CALD communities.

Highlights

Membership

Since its formation, the Alliance has grown from strength to strength. Its membership spans more than 13 communities, including the Arabic-speaking, Chinese-speaking, Greek Indonesian and Vietnamese communities. The Alliance works in partnership with community leaders, Local Health Districts, Primary Health Networks, Migrant Resource Centres and the ethnic media.

Community Education Sessions and Training

To date, through the Alliance, the MHAHS has provided education sessions to more than 1000 people through our community education program and trained more than 200 community workers. Upon request, our trained educators can provide culturally appropriate, up-to-date information and skills for responding to issues relating to hepatitis B. Sessions can be tailored for different group sizes and session durations. All our training and education is provided free of charge.

Media

Members of the Alliance participated in the 2014 and 2015 World Hepatitis Day/Hepatitis Awareness Week campaigns and received coverage in various community media including the Arabic, Chinese, Indonesian, Italian, Korean, Sierra Leone and Vietnamese media.

In 2015, the Alliance is implementing a media campaign including a series of stories to increase awareness of chronic hepatitis B in priority communities. The stories involve the perspectives of community leaders, health care experts, as well as people living with chronic hepatitis B.

Community Testing Clinic

The Alliance has also explored strategies to bring hepatitis B testing to the community. In partnership with key agencies, an outreach testing clinic was trialled with the Indonesian community at a key community event to huge success.

Forums #ConnectingForAction2016

The Alliance organised a #ConnectingForAction2016 Hepatitis B forum in Bankstown on 4th of May in order to bring health care professionals together with the leaders of the communities affected by the epidemic.

  • Contact
  • Marina Suarez, Health Promotion Officer
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  • Phone: 9515 1234

Last updated May 2016

Indonesian Hepatitis B Community Development Project

The burden of chronic hepatitis B (CHB) in NSW disproportionately affects people born overseas, who represent an estimated 61% of people living with CHB (Hepatitis B Mapping Project, 2011). People born in Indonesia have been identified as a key affected population, particularly in the Eastern Sydney locality.

The burden of chronic hepatitis B (CHB) in NSW disproportionately affects people born overseas, who represent an estimated 61% of people living with CHB (Hepatitis B Mapping Project, 2011). People born in Indonesia have been identified as a key affected population, particularly in the Eastern Sydney locality.

  • Increasing hepatitis B awareness and knowledge;
  • Increasing hepatitis B testing and treatment;
  • Increasing community access to hepatitis B health services

The project began in April 2014 and was completed in August 2015.

Highlights

Establishment of the Indonesian Health Committee of NSW

The key focus of the project’s capacity building initiative was to establish a community based structure to facilitate greater dialogue and debate within the Indonesian community about chronic hepatitis B issues. In consultation with a community advisory group, the Indonesian Health Committee of NSW was established in June 2015 to promote health issues among the Indonesian population in NSW including the promotion of hepatitis B issues through community forums and gatherings.

The first community health forum organised by the health committee was held in September with approximately 25 community members attending a session about HIV. A HIV positive speaker was invited to share their experience of living with HIV and the challenges of confronting stigma and discrimination because of her HIV status.

Outreach Community Testing Clinic

In November 2014, the MHAHS conducted the first ever Indonesian community hepatitis B screening clinic. The pilot clinic, held in Alexandria where Indonesian community members meet on a weekly basis, was a huge success. Three 'nurse stations' were set up for testing, while the usual social aspects of the gathering continued. The initiative was a partnership between the MHAHS, IndoCare, Inner West Sydney Medicare Local and Royal Prince Alfred Hospital Liver Centre.

Community Education Sessions

The project delivered nine community education sessions in different parts of Sydney Metropolitan area with 350 participants. Delivered in Indonesian, the sessions covered basic information about testing, transmission and care. Participants were highly engaged with the topic, with evaluations showing increased knowledge of hepatitis B.

Media

To increase reach within the Indonesian community, the MHAHS conducted interviews with SBS Indonesian Radio and Indonesian radio station ‘Duta Nusantara’. Four articles on hepatitis B were published in local Indonesian newspapers, ‘Indomedia’ and ‘Buletin’.

Community consultation and endorsement

At the MHAHS, we recognise the most appropriate responses are identified by the affected communities themselves. Throughout the project, we consulted widely with community organisations, community leaders and business owners. A Community Advisory Group was established to advise and support the implementation process and ensure activities were culturally appropriate.

Contact

  • Wa’el Sabri, Community Development Officer
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  • Phone: 9515 1234

Last updated November 2015


Thai HIV Community Development Project

From 2013-2014, approximately 40% of new HIV notifications in NSW were attributable to people born overseas. North and South East Asia continue to be regions of highest representation, accounting for almost half of all overseas born notifications (NSW Annual HIV Data Report, 2014). Within these regions, people born in Thailand have experienced a sustained and elevated proportion of new HIV notifications.

In response to these findings, the MHAHS initiated a 12-month project to increase the capacity of the Thai community in NSW to respond to HIV by:

  • Increasing HIV awareness and knowledge;
  • Increasing HIV testing and treatment;
  • Decreasing stigma and discrimination towards people living with HIV and;
  • Increasing community access to HIV health services

The project began in October 2014 and was completed in October 2015.

Highlights

Community Education Sessions

The project delivered eight community education sessions in different parts of Sydney with more than 200 participants. Presented by Thai-speaking staff, the sessions covered basic information about testing, transmission and treatment.

Community Festivals

The project participated in two major community festivals: the Thai Candle Light Festival and the celebration of the Thai New Year. More than 2000 safe sex packs and 500 fortune cookies with HIV messages in Thai language were distributed to community members.

Desk Calendar Project

Beautiful Thai desk calendars will soon be distributed to raise awareness of HIV in the Thai community. The free calendars feature photography from local Thai artists along with messages promoting HIV testing, acceptance and knowledge. The calendars will be distributed through community networks from 1 December 2015 to coincide with World AIDS Day.

Media

To increase reach within the Thai community, the MHAHS conducted a series of radio interviews with SBS Thai Radio and 2000FM Thai Smile Radio. This opportunity was used to discuss basic information about testing, transmission and treatment as well as to challenge stigma and discrimination towards people living with HIV.

Community Consultation and Endorsement

At the MHAHS, we recognise that the most appropriate responses are identified by the affected communities themselves. Throughout the project, we consulted widely with community organisations, community leaders and business owners. A Community Advisory Group was established to advise and support our Project Officer in the implementation process and ensure activities are culturally appropriate.

Contact

  • Wa’el Sabri, Community Development Officer
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  • Phone: 9515 1234

Last updated November 2015