Sunday, 13 November 2016
Health Minister John Day said the award represented a well-deserved personal accolade for Saroja Nazareth - who in 2005 became Australia's first hepatology nurse practitioner - and an endorsement of the liver service, in which she had worked since 1998.
"With Ms Nazareth's national award and the service recently assisting its 2,000th patient since opening in 1995, it is a double celebration for RPH," Mr Day said.
"During her 18 years of dedication to the service, she has been instrumental in its growth into one of Australia's largest Hepatitis C treatment centres.
"Not only has the service improved the lives of thousands of people, it has worked to cut through the stigma of Hepatitis C, helping ensure as many people as possible receive treatment."
The service is renowned as one of Australia's most progressive and innovative.
"It was the first in the nation to establish a telehealth clinic and has since helped more than 120 rural and remote patients," the Minister said.
"With changes to treatments available on the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme in March this year, patients have had access to new, direct-acting antiviral drugs, which have cut costs and treatment times dramatically."
Ms Nazareth has also been extensively involved in Hepatitis C education, highlighting the importance of communicating with at-risk groups, including those who may have had infected blood transfusions.
"Though Hepatitis C can lead to complications of liver disease, there is a cure rate of more than 90 per cent with new treatments," Mr Day said.
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