Projects

Eliminate Hepatitis C Australia Partnership: EC Australia

Australia can be one of the first countries to achieve the World Health Organization’s target of eliminating hepatitis C as a public health threat by 2030.

A key reason for this is that new direct-acting antiviral (DAA) medications were made available on the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme in March 2016 to all people living with hepatitis C, regardless of disease stage.

DAAs have revolutionised hepatitis C care: they are highly effective (cure rate of over 95 per cent), have minimal side effects, and require only 8-12 weeks of once-daily tablets.

Whilst Australian states and territories are making efforts to increase the number of people tested and treated for hepatitis C, the response is ad-hoc, with many jurisdictions lacking funding and a sufficiently integrated clinical and community service sector to take a cohesive approach to increasing testing and treatment.

After two years of treatment availability, the number of people commencing treatment started to fall. To eliminate hepatitis C it is crucial we keep treating people for their hepatitis C and that DAA treatments reach those at risk of transmitting infection to others so we can stop new infections.

The EC Australia project will take a multidisciplinary, cohesive and appropriately targeted nationwide approach to ensure we sustain high numbers of people accessing hepatitis C treatment, in order to meet our elimination targets.

Burnet Institute, with support from the Paul Ramsay Foundation is bringing together researchers, implementation scientists, Government, health services and community organisations to ensure Australia sustains high numbers of people accessing hepatitis C treatment.

Greg Hunt launching EC Australia

Launched in 2018 at Parliament House, the overarching goal of EC Australia is to eliminate hepatitis C as a public health threat by 2030.

Eliminating hepatitis C will stop people becoming infected with hepatitis C and stop hepatitis C-related deaths. The Australian public will benefit more broadly from the health system savings that will occur through a targeted and cohesive approach to hepatitis C testing and treatment.

EC Australia’s goals:

  • Ensure that 15,000 Australians with chronic hepatitis C are treated and cured of their infection annually
  • Ensure that people identified with cirrhosis related to hepatitis C infection are treated and cured, and regularly reviewed to monitor for liver cancer
  • Establish a national collaborative framework to facilitate a coordinated response to the elimination of hepatitis C as a public health threat from Australia by 2030.

EC Australia has five key components:

  1. Health promotion and awareness raising
  2. Workforce development and health service delivery
  3. Implementation research
  4. Evaluation and surveillance
  5. Aboriginal Health Plan

Timeline

3 years (October 2018 – December 2021)

Outcomes

  1. Conduct of a State-by-State Consultation process to understand current models of care in relation to Hepatitis C Health Promotion, Access and Testing and Treatment
  2. In partnership with the Kirby Institute, Burnet Institute and EC Australia has published the first national report on progress towards the elimination of hepatitis C virus in Australia – a second annual report will be released in late 2020
  3. Launch of new EC Australia component; The Aboriginal Health Plan and recruitment of new Program Manager; Troy Combo
  4. Supporting the establishment of 20 workforce development and health service delivery projects across all states and territories of Australia – these will run for 12 – 24 months

Collaborators

Alfred Hospital, Alfred Health, St Vincent’s Hospital Melbourne / Melbourne University, Menzies / Royal Darwin Hospital, University of NSW, University of Queensland, WA Health, Tasmania Statewide Sexual Health Service, St Vincent’s Hospital Melbourne, Monash University, Kirby Institute, GESA / Royal Prince Alfred Hospital / University Sydney, Doherty Institute/ Royal Melbourne Health, Centre for Social Research in Health and the Social Policy Research Centre, St Vincent’s Hospital Melbourne, Royal Adelaide Hospital, St Vincent’s Hospital Melbourne/University of NSW, East Melbourne Primary Health Care Collaborative, South Australia Health & Medical Research Institute, Kirby Institute, La Trobe University, Princess Margaret Hospital/ Telethonkids, Cairns Sexual Health Service, Kirketon Road Centre/ University of NSW, Doherty Institute, Barwon Health, Australian Federation of AIDS Organisations, Australasian Society for HIV Medicine, Viral Hepatitis and Sexual Health Medicine, Country SA Primary Health Network, Royal Australian College of General Practitioners, Pharmaceutical Society of Australia / VHITTAL committee of the North West Melbourne PHN, Royal Australian College of General Practitioners Representative/ You Yangs Medical Clinic, Australian Hepatology Association, Hunter New England Local Health District, Australian Medical Association, Australian Primary Health Care Nurses Association, Hepatitis Australia, Hepatitis Victoria, Hepatitis NSW, Hepatitis SA, Northern Territory AIDS and Hepatitis Council, Hepatitis WA, Hepatitis Queensland, Hepatitis SA, Hepatitis Tasmania, TasCAHRD, Hepatitis ACT, Aboriginal Victoria │ Department of Premier & Cabinet, Victorian Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisation, WA Primary Health Alliance/Royal Perth Hospital / Aboriginal Health Council of Western Australia, Aboriginal Health Council WA, Danila Dilba Health Service, Aboriginal Health Services TAS, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Community Health Service, Institute for Urban Indigenous Health, Aboriginal Health Service, Australian Injecting & Illicit Drug Users League, Harm Reduction Victoria, Peer Based Harm Reduction WA, NSW Users and AIDS Association, Queensland Injectors for Advocacy and Action, Tasmanian Users Health and Support League, Canberra Alliance for Harm Minimisation and Advocacy, NSW Health, Department of Health and Human Services VIC, SA Health, Department of Health and Human Services TAS, ACT Health, Department of Health WA, Department of Health NT and Department of Health QLD, Western Australian Network of Alcohol & Other Drug Agencies and Sexual Health and Blood Borne Viruses Applied Research and Evaluation Network (SiREN).

Funding

Paul Ramsay Foundation

Contact Details

For any general enquiries relating to this project, please contact:

Doctor Alisa Pedrana

Senior Research Fellow, Eliminate Hepatitis C Australia Coordinator

Telephone

+61392822225

Email

alisa.pedrana@burnet.edu.au