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Stories

HEP Hero Lester Mascarenhas

June 14, 2020

Lester Mascarenhas

Medical Doctor and Founder of Refugee and Asylum Seeker Health Clinic 

I am the founder of Utopia Refugee and Asylum Seeker Health clinic in the Western suburbs of Melbourne.

I provide GP services including treatment for hepatitis B and hepatitis C. Our patients are poor and have limited English skills.

Having their treatment done close to their home by their GP and at no charge for the consultation makes it more likely for them to access treatment and prevent advanced liver disease and liver cancer.

I was born in India. I completed my medical training in Britain in 2003 and have been working in Australia since 2008. I am passionate about human rights and social justice.
Outside of work, I have a keen interest in music. I play the flute, the piano and sing in a choir.

I trained to be a doctor not because of the status and the money attached to the job but to help my fellow human beings. This led me to the field of refugee health.

Refugees and asylum seekers are human beings just like everyone else, but in this unfair world they suffer greater injustices including limited access to medical care.

Refugees are particularly affected by viral hepatitis and it was through my work with them that I acquired skills to treat viral hepatitis.

A person with viral hepatitis can have no symptoms but can develop cancer and liver failure if they are not treated. If we think our family and community members are at risk we should encourage them to come forward and get tested.

There is no shame in having hepatitis. The more awareness people have, the better the chance we have to reduce the suffering caused by hepatitis.

Lester’s message to others…

Don’t be afraid. Get tested. Get treated.

LiverLine
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LiverWELL, incorporating Hepatitis Victoria, champions the interests of people affected by or at risk of viral hepatitis and liver disease.

LiverWELL acknowledges the Traditional Custodians of country throughout Australia and their connections to land, sea and community.

We welcome people from all cultures, nationalities and religions. Being inclusive and providing equitable services is our commitment.