Medical Center, Community Partners Host Hepatitis C Educational Program

Medical Center, Community Partners Host Hepatitis C Educational Program

Free Events Scheduled for Thursday, May 22 

MACON, GA (Wednesday, May 14, 2014) – The Medical Center of Central Georgia (MCCG)  - along with partners including the Bibb County Health Department, Daybreak Shelter , First Choice Primary Care, Georgia College and State University Graduate School of  Nursing, and the Macon Volunteer Clinic – have come together to form the Hepatitis C Community Collaborative. The Collaborative is leading an effort to educate the community about the causes and treatments of hepatitis C.

The Collaborative will sponsor two free community events on Thursday, May 22 at Daybreak Shelter, 174 Walnut Street in Macon. The educational events will take place at 2:00 p.m. and 5:00 p.m.

Local physicians will provide free information on the behaviors that contribute to infection, the importance of vaccination and treatment options for those who have contracted the disease. A number of experienced healthcare professionals will be available to answer questions after the presentation, and refreshments will be served.

“Hepatitis C is a hidden epidemic with significant public health consequences. Hepatitis C is largely preventable, but is the leading cause of liver cancer and liver cirrhosis. At this time, there is not a coordinated education and outreach program for the local community. Through the Hepatitis C Community Collaborative, we hope to change that,” said Roz McMillan, Assistant Vice President of Population Health and Community Health Education for MCCG.

The event is linked to the Collaborative's efforts to establish the only community hepatitis C clinic in central Georgia. Physicians, psychologists, nurses, case managers, and other staff will donate their time to the clinic. The clinic's proposed location is  the Macon/Bibb County Health Department.

“There are a number of known uninsured or underinsured individuals in our area who are infected with hepatitis who are not receiving care at this time. Treatment for this illness is long term and requires commitment. Without a primary care physician, infected individuals rarely seek treatment,” said McMillan. 

An estimated 65 to 75 percent of those infected with hepatitis C are unaware of their infection status and are not receiving care or treatment. Without timely care, one in four persons with chronic hepatitis will develop liver cirrhosis or liver cancer, both of which are deadly.