Chronic hepatitis B (CHB) is a significant global health challenge given an increasing morbidity and inadequate public health response, Migrant populations are primarily affected by CHB in industrialised countries, and while more than 7% of Australians with CHB were born in Africa or the Middle East, little is known of their awareness or knowledge of viral hepatitis and its impact. This qualitative study, using semi-structured interviews with Assyrian and Arabic community leaders and focus groups (FG) with 66 community members sought to identify hepatitis and liver cancer knowledge and awareness among local Arabic and Assyrian-speaking communities in Western Sydney. Interviews were thematically analysed, with findings framing the topics for the FGs which were analysed using a framework analysis. Themes identified across both methods included limited awareness or knowledge of viral hepatitis or liver cancer, stigma associated with both conditions, variable levels of health literacy and trust in medical practitioners, and fear that receiving “bad news” would deter people from seeking care. Preferred sources of health information were family doctors, family members, the internet and the ethnic media. The study gave valuable information for the design of an educational program and provided useful information for the planning of culturally appropriate hepatitis screening and treatment services for these communities.
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