Issue 13
Monday, 14 August 2017
Charles Darwin University
E-news
Melita McKinnon (Menzies), Sarah Bukulatjpi, George Gurruwiwi, Roslyn Dhurrkay and Paula Binks (Menzies)
Melita McKinnon (Menzies), Sarah Bukulatjpi, George Gurruwiwi, Roslyn Dhurrkay and Paula Binks (Menzies)

Elcho and Anchorage share knowledge

By Melody Song

A team of community-based researchers from Elcho Island, supported by Menzies School of Health Research, has made the long journey to Anchorage, Alaska from their home in Galiwin’ku to present at the World Indigenous Peoples’ Conference on Viral Hepatitis.

Although Elcho Island and Alaska are more than 10,000 km apart and have vastly different climates and cultures, there’s one thing they have in common: incidences of viral hepatitis in Indigenous communities, and a desire to manage it effectively.

For the three Indigenous researchers – Sarah Bukulatjpi, George Gurruwiwi and Roslyn Dhurrkay – it was also their first time overseas.

Menzies hepatitis B program manager Paula Binks said the trip was important for the researchers to share knowledge on how to treat hepatitis B, a disease that affects all remote Indigenous communities.

“They will also be able to meet their peers and participate in cross-cultural experiences,” she said.

Sarah, an Aboriginal health practitioner specialising in the management of hepatitis B, said she was looking forward to discovering how hepatitis B research was undertaken in Alaska.

She said hepatitis B was difficult to explain in language because of the medical terms.

“I talk about it in plain and simple language and use pictures to tell people where their liver is and explain how immunisation can help protect them,” Sarah said.

The trip was supported by Menzies, Hepatitis Australia and Airnorth.