Programming Connection

Hepatitis C Ethnocultural Education, Outreach and Social Marketing Program 


Why Was the Program Developed?

The Hepatitis C Ethnocultural Education, Outreach and Social Marketing Program was developed in response to a need identified by the AIDS and Hepatitis C Programs of the Ontario Ministry of Health and Long-term Care. This is the government body responsible for developing Ontario’s HIV and hepatitis C strategies and a provincial funder of community-based programs.

In Canada, immigrants and newcomers are disproportionately affected by hepatitis C and hepatitis B. Immigrants and newcomers are estimated to represent 35 percent of all past or present hepatitis C infections in Canada.1 The primary mode of transmission for this group is unsafe medical practices outside of Canada, including transfusions of contaminated blood and reuse of unsterilized medical or dental equipment. Hepatitis C is not routinely screened for during the immigration process, so many immigrants may not know they have the virus.

Once someone arrives in Canada, there are a host of factors that contribute to their need for health information, especially relating to hepatitis C. Although immigrants typically arrive healthier than their Canadian counterparts,2 research has shown the longer a person resides in Canada the more their health status comes in line with that of the general population, and sometimes their health declines further. Immigrants and newcomers access healthcare services less than people born in Canada and they often face cultural and linguistic barriers to services.

Upon receiving funding, CATIE completed an environmental scan to set the groundwork for this program. On the basis of this environmental scan, immigrants and newcomers from four countries were identified for the development of awareness campaigns and information resources: China, India, Pakistan and the Philippines. Therefore, CATIE’s education and resource development work began in the following languages: Mandarin (Simplified Chinese), Punjabi, Urdu and Tagalog.