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Aboriginal Experience Contributes to World Conference

Eight Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people are in Alaska this week to take part in the Second World Indigenous Peoples’ Conference on Viral Hepatitis.

Minister for Indigenous Health, Ken Wyatt AM, said the Australian Government had provided $25,000 to Hepatitis Australia to support the travel scholarships.

“I congratulate scholarship recipients Sarah Mariyalawuy Bukulatjpi, George Garambaka Gurruwiwi, Rosalyn Gundjirryirr Dhurrkay, Milton Mossman, Paul Neal, Michael Larkin, Ursula Swan and Tina Pollard,” he said.

“This is being led and designed by indigenous people and delegates include a wide range of health professionals and civil society organisations.

“It is an opportunity for people working in indigenous health to hear how viral hepatitis is being tackled in communities worldwide, to better understand the prevalence and burden of the virus, and share knowledge on its management.”

Indigenous Australians experience higher rates of viral hepatitis than non-indigenous Australians.

Hepatitis B and C can lead to liver cancer, which is the third most common cause of cancer death for indigenous Australians. It is the ninth most common cause for non-indigenous Australians.

Further, Hepatitis B occurs in 66 cases per 100,000 in Indigenous Australians compared with 22 per 100,000 in non-Indigenous Australians.

The 2017 conference is on 8 – 9 August 2017 in Anchorage, Alaska, and follows the inaugural Indigenous Peoples’ Conference on Viral Hepatitis, held in Alice Springs in 2014.

Minister Wyatt said he looked forward to meeting with Hepatitis Australia and the participants on their return to hear about what practical solutions we can explore to tackle the burden of this preventable disease that is having a serious long-term effect on Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander People.

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