“Hepatitis” means “inflammation of the liver”. Chronic (long-term) inflammation of the liver can result in liver damage or failure if left untreated. Liver damage can be caused by many different things – drinking too much alcohol, injury, autoimmune disorder, adverse drug reactions, or viruses such as hepatitis B or C.
The Hepatitis Foundation of New Zealand has grown to become an authority on the hepatitis group of viruses (A to E). It is involved in research as well as the delivery of services and programmes to combat the spread of the disease.
The foundation had its origins in the 1980s in the work of the Hepatitis Research Unit, founded by Mr Alexander Milne, MBE. Mr Milne has been described as an unusual and determined man who not only discovered the seriousness of the hepatitis B epidemic in New Zealand but almost single-handedly forced a reluctant government to acknowledge the threat and act to contain it. He accomplished this by combining high quality scientific research with persistent political pressure through appeals to the public via the mass media.
The foundation is now a charitable trust governed by a board of trustees.
What does it do?
The foundation aims to promote positive health outcomes to the people of New Zealand through education and research into viral hepatitis, and early detection and long-term follow-up of chronic hepatitis B and C.
Over the years the foundation has undertaken a number of major screening, vaccination and research programmes in New Zealand, the Pacific Islands and Vietnam.
The foundation has been carrying out follow-up of hepatitis B (HBV) carriers in New Zealand since 1994.
In June 1999 the foundation was contracted to deliver part of the national hepatitis B screening programme, targeted to the high-risk population groups – Maori, Pacific Island and Asian adults in the North Island.
The foundation is now contracted to the Ministry of Health to provide long-term follow-up, with approximately 12,000 confirmed HBV carriers registered.
Regular blood testing enables the early detection of complications such as liver inflammation and cancer. In recent years, increasing numbers of hepatitis C carriers have also registered with the foundation for follow-up and information.
How is it funded?
Most of the Hepatitis Foundation’s work is funded through contracts to the Ministry of Health.
How can I get their help?
You can contact The Hepatitis Foundation of NZ in the following ways:
- Helpline freephone 0800 33 20 10
- Email email@example.com
- Website www.hepfoundation.org.nz
How much does it cost?
The Hepatitis Foundation of New Zealand support services and follow-up are free.
Link to Hepatitis Foundation Website
This is an informative website covering news, resources and pharmaceuticals. There are also links to other relevant sites and contact details for the foundation.