A Tale of Two Communities

This is a report back on Mrs. Marrianne Black's presentation: More than just 12km: A comparison of the Chinese and Vietnamese Communities Living with hepatitis B in the Brisbane South PHN which was delivered at the Australasian Viral Hepatitis Elimination Conference 2019, which is included in the Oral Abstracts 2: Gains and Gaps: The Hepatitis response in CALD and Indigenous populations.

As a general practice nurse who serves many Chinese and Vietnamese people in our community, the presentation piqued my interest. It made me realise how important it is to find out more about health-seeking behaviours of certain ethnic groups, because it could potentially inform us how to better take care of them and manage their conditions.

It drove home the point to me that more work needs to be done as people from lower income households tend to fare less than those who have higher incomes when it comes to health. Although the Chinese and the Vietnamese communities both have high prevalence of Hepatitis B, they seem to have different ways in dealing with their disease as more people from the Chinese community than the Vietnamese community tend to be under specialist care and are taking medications prescribed from overseas. 

Mrs. Marianne Black's presentation made me reflect on how I currently work with my patients and it made me resolve to understand more about the reasons behind my patients' health-seeking behaviours. It opened my eyes to becoming more curious when it comes to learning more about each individual and getting to know about the differences between the backgrounds of people from culturally and linguistically diverse (CALD) communities as not everything is the same, even though the surface might tell us otherwise. I now know that I should always dig deeper and find answers to questions, reasons to the way I do things, and take the opportunity to get to know my patients as they hold the keys to possibly eliminating hepatitis B, and other diseases as well. 

Author bio: I'm a GP practice nurse who has worked all over Sydney in the past 2 years. I'm currently working mainly in Ashfield.