Conversations on Liver Wellness: Opportunity for Positive Impact
We know the liver is vital for life, yet despite research showing cost analysis impact of delayed treatment, Hepatitis C remains the top infectious diseases causing death in Canada. Indigenous Peoples are a key population where awareness, engagement, and curative treatment rates remain low.
To inspire change, Indigenous communities came together to tell the story of liver wellness, in connection to Hepatitis C, co-creating a DocuStory film and planning for opportunities to create positive impact.
Conversations with Indigenous Knowledge Keepers in Alberta shaped the script into a story of wellness and hope. This story focuses on the value the liver has in our body, the importance of balance in our lives between mental, spiritual and physical health, and a message that you are not alone.
Knowledge Keepers were joined by Indigenous community members including a nurse, medical student, social influencer, and two young people who share their lived experience with hepatitis C. Although the experience of becoming infected with the virus may have been scary, the journey of treatment and connecting to caring and supportive healthcare teams was life changing.
This 23-minute visual story became a way to increase awareness of the virus in a non-judgemental and culturally connected space. Through continued community conversations, planning for screening events provided opportunities to pair the film with a question & answer session and offer low-barrier screening options including point of care and dried blood spot for audiences.
Focusing on the positive impacts of completing treatment for hepatitis C, combined with a sense of personal engagement with those sharing their perspectives or experience in the film, inspires action. Consistently, 50-90% of the audience initiates screening.
One Elder commented, “never in my life have I listened to a health message and not felt stress, stigma or shame, but with this I felt relaxed and learned how important liver wellness is, and what to do about it”.
Another said, “I had no idea hepatitis C was curable, this is life-changing, thank you so much”.
Adding this awareness resource to your toolkit has relevance in a variety of settings, including; community health fairs, movie night, liver health day, school classrooms, outreach programming, youth group, Elders circle, workshops, clinic waiting rooms, corrections, OAT locations, and so much more. The DocuStory film provides opportunity for collaborations on other prevention or wellness-based topics or screenings as well, such as HIV, syphilis, Diabetes, kidney disease, etc.
Films share powerful stories capturing hearts and changing minds – once someone is inspired and curious, sharing and planning for pathways to action is key. For example, pairing this film with question & answer time and options for hepatitis C screening increased opportunities for audiences to learn and act.
Storytelling shares knowledge in a traditional way, why not inspire wellness through story? We challenge you to engage with stories and inspire action toward elimination of hepatitis C in Canada by facilitating conversations and pathways to take steps toward increasing awareness.