A hand-working teacher and family man, who has been living in Sydney for seven years, was told he failed Australia’s visa health requirement despite his hepatitis B medication costing just “a dollar a day”.
Hepatitis B is a virus that Paul* likely inherited from his mother at birth.
“We have laws which forbid the discrimination against people living with disabilities unless they happen to be trying to migrate to Australia,” Dr Cowie said.
As an organisation that strives for health equity, CEH denounces this residency refusal. “Everyone should have access to healthcare. The government’s criteria, in this instance, is discriminatory. The cost of his medication is negligible. It certainly does not break the significant cost threshold – so it is very unclear on what basis this man’s residency has been refused,” said CEH co-manager Alison Coelho.
“A person going off their treatment purely to try and get residency here is a real tragedy, that someone is not engaging with something that could save their life in a desperate attempt … to be able to contribute to Australian society,” Dr Cowie said.
Everyone in Australia should have access to proper healthcare. People on particular visas should not be denied access to healthcare or an opportunity to make a life in Australia. This is a human rights issue and cuts to the core of what we believe to be a fair and just society.
At CEH, we work to reduce incidences of blood borne viruses, like hepatitis B. You can find more information here.
*A pseudonym as the Sydney-sider wishes to remain anonymous
Image source: SBS News