South Sudanese hip-hop artist fighting hep B, one rhyme at a time

Thursday 8 March, 2018

South Sudanese Australian hip-hop artist Malesh P has launched a new tune this week to encourage his community to get tested for hepatitis B and help prevent unnecessary deaths from liver cancer.

Cancer Council Victoria and South Sudanese Australian Youth United (SSAYU) created the song and music video with Malesh P, in the hope it would encourage more young people to get tested for hepatitis B.

In the song Malesh P encourages his community to get tested and treated or vaccinated, and support loved ones who have been diagnosed and need some encouragement.

He sings:

Fight it, knock it, push it the ground
Don’t let it get the best of ya, and turn your life around
Hepatitis B can cause a lot of frustrations
So when we’re done, go and get your vaccination

Malesh P said that he was inspired to write the song after hearing how many members of his community were affected by hepatitis B.

“One in 18 South Sudanese Australians have hepatitis B, but too many do not know it and are missing out on potentially life-saving treatments,” he said.

“Through hip-hop, we’re letting young people in my community know that treatment and vaccination is available, before it’s too late.”

Hepatitis B is a virus that affects the liver.

Charissa Feng, Manager of Priority Communities at Cancer Council Victoria, said that hepatitis B can develop into liver damage or liver cancer if it’s left untreated.

“Globally, viral hepatitis is responsible for 80% of liver cancers,” Ms Feng said.

“Sadly the prognosis for people with liver cancer is poor. It is one of the fastest increasing causes of cancer death.

“But fighting hepatitis B with the right treatment can reduce your risk of liver cancer by up to 75 per cent, and save yourself and your family from unimaginable and unnecessary heartbreak.”

Cancer Council Victoria recommends that people from countries with a high or intermediate prevalence of hepatitis B get tested. This includes people from the Asia, Pacific region, Africa, Central and South America, Eastern and Southern Europe, Caribbean and the Middle East.

“In countries without vaccination programs, hepatitis B can be unknowingly transmitted from mother to child at birth. Hepatitis B often shows no symptoms,” Ms Feng said.

“It’s important that people get tested so they can receive the vaccination, or receive appropriate treatment if they have hepatitis B.

“With the right treatment and support, people with hepatitis B can live long and healthy lives.”

The music video will be shared in a social media campaign over the coming month. To view the music video and download the song visit: www.cancervic.org.au/preventing-cancer/hep-b-hip-hop