The Hepatitis B Mapping Project aims to facilitate a comprehensive understanding of chronic hepatitis B (CHB) in Australia. The data and analysis can be used to inform targeted awareness and intervention campaigns to suit the particular local needs of people living with CHB and those providing services to them.
The Project is a joint initiative of ASHM and the Doherty Institute, funded by the Australian Government Department of Health.
The Third National Hepatitis B Mapping Project Report contains updated estimates for 2014/2015 on the prevalence, diagnosis, monitoring and treatment of hepatitis B at the Primary Health Network level. For the first time, the national hepatitis B mapping report contains detailed demographic information about patients accessing retreatment and their treatment providers.
These estimates can be used to judge the progress Australia has made towards the National Hepatitis B Strategy 2014-2017 targets at a Primary Health Network level.
The second national report used national datasets to indicate the current level of diagnosis, monitoring and treatment, as well as vaccination rates and outcomes of infection.
The report serves as a benchmark against which progress in achieving the National Hepatitis B Strategy 2014-2017 targets and priorities can be assessed. It provides detailed information at a national, state/territory and local area level.
The initial report outlines the comprehensive mapping phase of the project, which identifies priority Medicare Locals based on CHB burden along with the major communities affected in each of these areas as gleaned from the 2011 Census.
The report presents the number of people living with CHB in each Medicare Local and the proportion of the population that number represents; what proportion of people living with CHB in each Medicare Local were born overseas or are Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people; how many speak little or no English; and the geographic breakdown within Medicare Locals according to constituent Local Government Areas (LGAs).
Around 218,000 people were estimated to be living with CHB in Australia in 2011, approximately 1.0% of the population. In Australia, people born overseas (particularly from Asia, the Pacific and Africa) and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people are disproportionately affected by CHB.
Due to these epidemiological determinants, CHB is not evenly distributed geographically in Australia with wide variation by area.
Enhancing access to treatment and care, a priority action in the National Hepatitis B Strategy, relies on people receiving information, being diagnosed, and being able to access culturally appropriate and safe healthcare.
Localised priority-setting is a key objective of recent healthcare reform in Australia. The geographic mapping of the burden of diseases such as CHB allows for the prioritisation of health interventions and improvement of local service delivery in areas of the greatest need.
The geographically uneven distribution of CHB presents the opportunity to engage with, and improve awareness within, affected communities through the targeting of high prevalence areas.
Additionally, identifying areas where access to appropriate diagnosis and treatment is lowest relative to the estimated burden of CHB and incidence of liver cancer, provides the opportunity to prioritise interventions and local service delivery.
It is planned to update these reports annually, to reflect both the shifting epidemiology of CHB in Australia and evaluate the impact of public health and clinical service interventions on increasing access to diagnosis and treatment at a population level over time.
ASHM and the Doherty Institute are working in partnership to produce a comprehensive understanding of the epidemiology of hepatitis B in Australia. The Hepatitis B Mapping Project commenced in 2012 and is funded by the Australian Department of Health.