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Barriers to accessing testing and treatment for chronic Hepatitis B in Afghan, Rohingyan, and South Sudanese populations in Australia
journal contributionposted on 2018-02-01, 00:00 authored by Kate SievertKate Sievert, P O’Neill, Y Koh, J H Lee, A Dev, S Le
© 2017, Springer Science+Business Media New York. The burden of chronic Hepatitis B (CHB) infection and associated complications such as hepatocellular carcinoma is growing significantly in Australia due to increased migration from countries with a high prevalence of CHB. Significant barriers to screening and engagement with healthcare persist due to stigma and perceptions associated with CHB within these communities. Our study was a pilot intervention aimed at engaging Afghan, Rohingyan, and Sudanese populations into CHB care through an initial needs assessment. Twenty six patients from Afghan, Rohingyan, and Sudanese communities, identified in the Monash Health CHB database, participated in a combination of survey questionnaires and semi-structured interviews. Language and cultural barriers, lack of HBV knowledge, housing and family reunification priorities associated with new settlement, as well as previous experiences of healthcare engagement were all identified as obstacles to accessing CHB care. Healthcare and health promotion workers should be sensitive to the additional health barriers associated with seeking asylum, as these barriers can take priority over the often asymptomatic and chronic nature of CHB. Communities with high prevalence of CHB require culturally relevant education tools delivered at a community level in order to improve their knowledge.