Doctor Garang Dut is well aware of the dangers of untreated, preventable diseases.
The former Sunshine College student and refugee from South Sudan grew up against a backdrop of war, spending 18 years in a refugee camp in Kenya.
“I’ve seen how untreated diseases like hepatitis B can silently develop into liver damage and liver cancer,” the young doctor from Sunshine North said.
To encourage other South Sudanese-born Australians to get tested for hepatitis B, he’s partnered with Cancer Council Victoria to spread the word about treatment and vaccination options.
Hepatitis B and C infections are endemic in South Sudan, according to the World Health Organisation, with some studies estimating prevalence of the disease at 13 per cent of the country’s population, with most unaware of their infection.
Dr Dut is urging people who were born in South Sudan and their families to ask their doctor for a blood test that will either detect the disease or show whether a vaccination is needed.
“Get tested for yourself and your family. Talk to your doctor about hepatitis B. Your life could depend on it,” Dr Dut said.
For information in Arabic or Dinka call 13 14 50. When you call, say your language and ask for Cancer Council Victoria.