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Friday, January 31st, 2014
Hepatitis B education Program Focuses on Immigrant Communities
Health Minister Terry Lake helped Division of Gastroenterology at UBC, launch a new program that improves Dr. Eric Yoshida. â€œ25 to 30 per cent of these patients will die early because of awareness of hepatitis B. cirrhosis or cancer. This program will go Developed by S.U.C.C.E.S.S., the a long way to helping those with hepatitis Letâ€™s Talk about B program provides B live longer, healthier lives.â€? education, awareness and support for immigrant communities in British Co- Through online resources, workshops lumbia who are most at risk of having and other materials, the Letâ€™s Talk about B program targets high-risk communities hepatitis B. â€“ motivating individuals to get tested for â€œNewcomers to British Columbia are hepatitis B. The program is available in a valuable part of the productive, rich a variety of languages including Korean, culture of our province,â€? said Health Mandarin, Punjabi, Tagalog and English Minister Terry Lake. â€œWe are commit- and encourages open and honest dialogue ted to working together to help all Brit- with health care professionals and family ish Columbians lead healthy lives, and members. this program is an excellent part of an overall strategy to engage those at-risk â€œAsian communities in British Columbia or living with viral hepatitis to get tested will be well-served by a program like this one,â€? said MLA for North Vancouverand treated.â€? Lonsdale, Naomi Yamamoto. â€œThe longIt is estimated that one in 17 new im- term effects of a disease like hepatitis migrants are infected with chronic B can be devastating, and I know the hepatitis B in British Columbia. Many program will help many immigrants get are left undiagnosed or untreated because the support and treatment they need.â€? symptoms of the disease do not appear until after the liver is severely damaged. â€œBe positive,â€? said Lower Mainland Individuals born in Asian countries have hepatitis patient Jason Chan. â€œThe a three to 12 times higher risk of contract- best way to cope with hepatitis B is to ing hepatitis B and developing a chronic maintain a healthy lifestyle with proper infection than Canadian born individuals, diet, exercise and sufficient rest. Keep often because vaccination and testing is yourself in the best condition and seek advice from your doctor and community less standardized internationally. health professionals regularly. An open â€œHepatitis B is an important health issue and honest discussion with your family is among the immigrant community,â€? said also very important, as their understandS.U.C.C.E.S.S. CEO Queenie Choo. ing and co-operation help with recovery.â€? â€œThrough education, we are able to increase awareness of, build knowledge In March 2013, the B.C. Governaround and better manage the risk factors ment announced a $400,000 grant to of hepatitis B among at risk populations S.U.C.C.E.S.S. to develop a program in British Columbia. Hence, these people to improve awareness and treatment will have a better chance to live healthier of hepatitis B among B.C.â€™s Asian and South Asian population, and a $1.5 and more productive lives.â€? million grant to the St. Paulâ€™s Hospital â€œThe long-term effects for those with Foundation to explore ways to better adundiagnosed and untreated hepatitis B dress both hepatitis B and C epidemics are extremely serious,â€? said head of the in the province.
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