30th March 2021
A new, free to access e-learning course on hepatitis B in Scotland and a Living with hepatitis B booklet have been launched by Hepatitis Scotland.
Hepatitis B is a blood-borne infection caused by the hepatitis B virus (HBV). The virus infects the liver causing inflammation and potentially further damage over many years.
It is estimated that over 257 million people are chronically infected worldwide. Almost 5,000 people had been diagnosed and were living with chronic hepatitis B infection in Scotland by the end of 2016. However, this figure only represents 55% of the estimated 9,000 people living with hepatitis B across the country.
The e-learning course, Hepatitis B in Scotland has been developed to increase participants’ understanding and awareness of the illness.
The concise e-learning course defines hepatitis B and describes those who may be at risk of infection. The course will also help participants identify the symptoms of acute and chronic hepatitis B, and who should get tested.
Various audiences will benefit from the e-learning, including those who come into contact with people who use drugs, teachers, police, housing workers, social workers, mental health workers and the general public.
Leon Wylie, Head of Hepatitis Scotland, said:
“This e-learning course has been designed to equip workers who are determined to reduce the risk of hepatitis B among people who access their services. The course will guide participants through all the information they need about hepatitis B, including the symptoms of acute hepatitis B who may be at risk from infection.”
The newly launched booklet Living with hepatitis B, reviewed by key people working in this area in Scotland, is designed as a resource to assist those who have been diagnosed with hepatitis B and can be used in a variety of settings. The booklet can be downloaded from the Hepatitis Scotland website.
The e-learning course is available to access through the Scottish Drugs Forum (SDF) Training website, which has been adapted to continue to provide people flexible training opportunities throughout the pandemic.
Katerina Vourlakos, SDF’s E-Learning Development Officer, said:
“Hepatitis Scotland and SDF are committed to providing service staff, and the wider public, the opportunity to increase their knowledge around hepatitis B – despite the current restrictions – using a range of technologies, such as our free to access e-learning courses. This course is an important addition to our e-learning portfolio, the topic of which has been highlighted by workers and practitioners as a key area for learning.”
Hepatitis Scotland and SDF also offer a range of other free to access e-learning courses, which are available via the SDF training website.
We are grateful to Dr Zhong Eric Chen from NHS Lothian, who greatly assisted the course development with his expertise.