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Queen’s Honours recognise doctor’s dedication to hepatitis B patients

Paediatrician and hepatitis B expert Dr Chris Moyes has been appointed an Officer of the New Zealand Order of Merit for his services to healthcare over the past 42 years, which he describes as an incredible journey.

This journey started when Chris came to NZ from England in 1979 and began work as the first permanent specialist paediatrician at Whakatane Hospital. He soon became interested in the Eastern Bay of Plenty’s high hepatitis B rates, forming a partnership with colleague Sandy Milne that led to ground-breaking studies and pioneered affordable vaccination programmes for infants and children. These programmes started in the Eastern Bay, using funds Chris and Sandy had raised for vaccination of all infants and uninfected children up to age 12, and were soon adopted nationally, making NZ one of the first countries to have a comprehensive health strategy for prevention of hepatitis B. Chris was in the national planning group and the South Pacific Hepatitis Advisory Group to extend vaccination to Pacific nations.

Chris is now a clinician at the Hepatitis Foundation, working to identify and care for adults with chronic hepatitis B who contracted it before vaccination programmes began. He also still works as a Whakatane Hospital paediatrician and participates in studies of asthma and allergic diseases in children. Chris has been a principal author of many scientific articles on hepatitis B and has written two guidelines on hepatitis management for healthcare professionals. He says he is surprised and heartened by the Queen’s Honour. “I would like to acknowledge everyone I have worked with who has made it possible, and the unflagging support of my wife Gaye.”

Hepatitis Foundation CEO Susan Hay says Chris, in his role with her organisation, has always been focused on improving health outcomes for Māori people with hepatitis B. “Chris has supported nearly 30,000 patients over his time with the Foundation, including referring people with life-threatening complications to secondary care. He has played a vital part in shaping the New Zealand healthcare system’s understanding and management of hepatitis B. “His contribution is astounding and everyone who has worked with him is in awe of his dedication and hard work.”


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