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The Kirby Institute at UNSW has welcomed a $1.4 million gift from the late Dr Lynn Joseph that will help transform the lives of Australians living with hepatitis C.

The World War II and Kokoda Track veteran practised medicine as a general practitioner for more than 60 years, before passing away in 2013 at the age of 94.

Dr Joseph’s relatives, including his nieces Jenny Alison and Gai Stanton, officially presented the bequest to the Kirby Institute yesterday.

The philanthropic donation will initially be used to support training to upskill general practitioners, who will be pivotal to the roll-out of new, highly curative hepatitis C therapies.

The new medicines were listed on the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme (PBS) on 1 March, making them accessible and affordable to the approximately 230,000 Australians living with chronic hepatitis.

Australia is a world leader in facilitating patient access to the life-saving hepatitis C treatments and the inclusion of general practitioners as prescribers.

The Kirby Institute’s Professor Greg Dore will lead a team to investigate the best ways to engage general practitioners in the management of hepatitis C and provide training for administering the new treatments.

“Dr Joseph’s commitment to holistic care for patients and the crucial role of community marks a profound alignment with the values and work of the Kirby Institute,” Professor Dore said.

“His gift will have a real impact on our ability to transform the lives of people living with hepatitis C in Australia. With broad access to these game-changing new treatments and general practitioner management, Australia will truly lead the world in the treatment of the virus, and Dr Joseph’s legacy of care will continue through this work”.