Getting Creative in Hull for World Hepatitis Day
The third annual World Hepatitis Day took place on Wednesday 19 May 2010, as part of an ongoing campaign launched by the World Hepatitis Alliance in 2008. An entirely patient-led initiative, World Hepatitis Day aims to raise awareness of hepatitis B and hepatitis C, as well as extend the political support for the diseases to levels seen in HIV / AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria. The long-term objective of the World Hepatitis Day campaign is to prevent new infections and to deliver real improvements in health outcomes for people living with hepatitis B and C (for more information see www.worldhepatitisalliance.org).
In previous years; The Point in Hull has actively promoted World Hepatitis Day within the confines of the needle exchange. This year, we decided to extend promotion into the community. With the combined efforts of the Compass Harm Reduction Nurse, Outreach workers and “Choices” Service User Involvement project, we conducted a whistle stop tour of the city. Our aim was not only to promote the event but to offer as many service users and family members as possible the opportunity for screening and vaccinations.
Wanting to attract as much attention as possible, the Point team were able to demonstrate their creative side by using those all too important skills learned from the many hours spent in the company of their Nan or the Childhood Party Entertainer, who subconsciously taught them invaluable display techniques! With the aid of transfer paper, a sewing machine and modelling balloons the team were able to ‘stand out from the crowd’ and create a talking point for everyone – despite some protesting from the staff! The sashes were lovely – what’s the matter with you?!
On a more serious note, to aid our promotion a service user involvement representative kindly provided us with the story of his treatment journey. This inspirational testimony proved an invaluable talking point for clients and helped to dispel a lot of the myths surrounding the treatment of Hep C. Such was the impact of the story that treatment agencies across the city have asked if it can be used within their agencies to actively encourage their client groups to seek screening and treatment for this disease. The service user involvement representative has kindly agreed, for which we give our sincere thanks.
Pharmacies, hostels and soup kitchens benefited from a visit by the whole team and many people received advice and information about Hepatitis B and C. In one location, service user reps had a queue of people waiting for a chat, which is an extremely encouraging sign. Screenings were completed in many of the locations and, as result of the day’s event and feedback, a hepatitis awareness session will be produced and delivered across the city.
Our very exhausted Harm Reduction Nurse had a productive and rewarding day, as did the rest of the Hull Harm Reduction and Choices teams. Many thanks go to them for all of their hard work! This positive experience leads to only one conclusion – a bigger and more rewarding World Hepatitis Day for years to come, with sewing machine, modelling balloons and maybe sticky back plastic at the ready…
Cluster Manager, Hull