Image of Juliet Chowdhry visiting homeless tents behind Ilford Library earlier this year.
British Asian Christian Association is loaning it’s office space to a Queens Hospital Hepatology team for a day to help inspect and treat the large number of homeless people visiting our centre for food.
A team of medical staff from the local Hospital based in Romford will be conducting Hepatitis tests on homeless people that attend our centre, on Thursday 5th November from 6pm. The team from the Barking and Dagenham, Havering and Redbridge NHS Trust’s programme to help vulnerable homeless people have chosen our centre due to the scale of visitors we support.
Hepatitis is liver inflammation and is commonly caused by infection from the Hepatitis A, B,C, D, E viruses or from Alcohol misuse, certain medications, toxins, other infections, autoimmune diseases, and non-alcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH).
Hepatitis B is mainly sexually transmitted, but may also be passed from mother to baby during pregnancy or childbirth and spread through infected blood. Hepatitis C is commonly spread through infected blood such as may occur during needle sharing by intravenous drug users. Hepatitis D can only infect people already infected with hepatitis B.
Some people with hepatitis have no symptoms, whereas others develop yellow discoloration of the skin and whites of the eyes (jaundice), poor appetite, vomiting, tiredness, abdominal pain, and diarrhoea. Hepatitis is acute if it resolves within six months.
Hepatitis A, B, and D are preventable with immunization. Medications may be used to treat chronic viral hepatitis. Antiviral medications are recommended in all with chronic hepatitis C, except those with conditions that limit their life expectancy. There is no specific treatment for NASH; however, physical activity, a healthy diet, and weight loss are recommended. Autoimmune hepatitis may be treated with medications to suppress the immune system. A liver transplant may be an option in both acute and chronic liver failure.
Because of the nature of their lifestyles Hepatitis is known to be common in the homeless community.
For some time BACA has been partnering with Westminster Drug Project who visit our centre at least once a week to administer counselling and rehabilitation support to our many homeless friends.
BACA will be advising other homeless centres of the medical support team with hope to reach as many of the local homeless community as possible.
Any people found to have been infected, will be advised, counselled and placed onto treatment programmes.
Hannah Chowdhry serving with other volunteers during the COVID-19 pandemic lockdown.