Australia still has a long way to go to achieve its National Hepatitis B Strategy targets aimed at eliminating the disease by 2030.
The latest report from the Doherty Institute’s Viral Hepatitis Mapping Project reports that while overall infant immunisation reached the national target of 95% by 2020, coverage was low among Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children. Overall treatment uptake for chronic hepatitis B (CHB) is only half the 2020 target of 20% and for chronic hepatitis B care (i.e. treatment or monitoring), is less than half the targeted 50%.
Nation-wide, uptake of treatment and care in both hepatitis B declined in 2020. This was not an unexpected result in light of the COVID-19 pandemic. Regions which saw the greatest declines in treatment uptake were Central and Eastern Sydney, Hunter New England and Central Coast, Country SA, and Western Sydney. Regions where monitoring uptake reduced the most were Murrumbidgee, South Eastern Melbourne, Eastern Melbourne and North Western Melbourne.