Hep B program highlights expertise as CDU Menzies School of Medicine seeks more student placements in the NT

Menzies School of Health Research and Charles Darwin University

The CDU Menzies School of Medicine continues its momentum to advocate for the Australian Government to allocate 40 new placements for medical students in the Northern Territory.

Menzies School of Health Research (Menzies) is a key partner to the School of Medicine, based in Darwin. Menzies has a history spanning 40 years of health research and scientific discovery, working to translate evidence into effective partnerships and programs in communities across Australia and the Asia Pacific region. Stanford University announced 12 Menzies researchers are in the World’s Top 2% of Scientists for their health research work across fields including tropical and emerging infectious diseases, and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health.

Hep B PAST– A Partnership Approach to Sustainably eliminating chronic Hepatitis B in the Northern Territory, is an example of best practice implementation research Menzies is leading. Hep B PAST is working towards the elimination of Chronic Hepatitis B (CHB) amongst Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples in the Northern Territory. Hepatitis B is a virus that causes liver damage and can lead to liver cancer. It is often a lifelong condition which needs ongoing treatment and care. A vaccine is available to prevent Hepatitis B infections and medication is available to manage CHB.

Hep B PAST has been implemented in more than 50 communities in the NT. Its implementation has resulted in the program meeting and exceeding national targets for people living with CHB being aware of their condition, engaging in care, and undergoing treatment. The data shows awareness of infection sits at 92 per cent (national target of 80 per cent) and 70 per cent are engaged in care (national target of 50 per cent) with 22 per cent receiving treatment (national target of 20 per cent).

Hep B PAST has enabled people living with CHB and their communities to access culturally appropriate education tools in their first language. The Hep B Story educational app is available in 10 Aboriginal languages meaning 70 per cent of the Aboriginal people in the NT have access to CHB information in their first or preferred language. There are many aspects to this project, including a new co-designed training course for Aboriginal health staff.

Continued strong relationships have been key to the success of Menzies’ projects. Hep B PAST has fostered and built on these relationships with their project partners NT Health, Miwatj Health Aboriginal Corporation, Katherine West Health Board, Central Australian Aboriginal Congress, Marthakal Homelands, Mala’la Health Service Aboriginal Corporation, Australasian Society for HIV, Viral Hepatitis and Sexual Health Medicine and the NT AIDS and Hepatitis Council.

/Public Release.