Workplace testing increases cervical screening rates
Public Health Association media release
18 September 2013
Workplace testing increases cervical screening rates for Maori women in Hawke’s Bay
Smear testing Maori women in the workplace has proven to be a successful strategy for increasing cervical screening rates for Maori women in the Hawke's Bay, the Public Health Association’s annual conference in New Plymouth was told today. Work places that have participated in the new screening strategy include McCains, Watties and Silver Ferns Farms.
“Going directly to Maori women and making the whole process as easy as possible are the keys to increasing Maori screening rates,” Sandra Corbett from the Hawke’s Bay District Health Board said today.
“Maori screening rates have been low compared to other groups of women, so we have shifted our resources to address the Maori need. Like many other health issues a whole range of barriers discourage Maori women from being screened for cervical cancer.
“Maori women tend to have larger families and additional responsibilities within the wider whanau. This means they are less likely than other women to prioritise their own health. The smear test is also an invasive procedure which can put many women off. All of these factors mean that Maori women present later and have higher rates of cervical cancer.”
To increase Maori participation rates, the Hawke’s Bay District Health Board sub-contracted testing services to five Maori health providers from Wairoa to Waipukurau, with financial incentives attached to smear test targets.
“This strategy has also proved successful because these providers are closely linked to Maori communities in Hawke’s Bay. What we found through these providers is that Maori women want a variety of things. First of all they want to be tested by women. Many of them also want after-hours and week-end services.
“Maori providers have taken a Whanau Ora approach. They believe that services are best offered in the home, and when it come to Maori, face to face services are best. They also attended community events and held promotions at places where Maori gather.”
This included a presence at supermarkets like PaknSave. Staff were given training, smear testing was offered on site, and check out operators wore special badges promoting cervical screening.