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A decade of Ngarrindjeri Mimini Cervix screening

A decade of Ngarrindjeri Mimini Cervix screening

The Ngarrindjeri Lands in rural South Australia cover the area of 18 clans of the Ngarrindjeri people. There is a strong tradition of privacy around women’s business and a high burden of serious illness in this population so the rate of smear testing in the local Aboriginal women was very low. This is a description of the 10 years of providing culturally appropriate sexual health services to Aboriginal women from disadvantaged backgrounds.

South Australian cervical screening statistics showed high prevalence and mortality rates of Aboriginal women with cervical cancer and the low screening rates in the Murray Bridge area. The clinics started with a doctor, a women’s health nurse and an Aboriginal Women’s health worker in the Lower Murray Nungas club, an Aboriginal community place.
The statistics for provision of cervical screening and sexual health care and a survey of clients’ satisfaction will be presented.
The major burden for Indigenous health care is the extensive active disease (diabetes, hypertension, kidney disease) making sexual health promotion and screening difficult to maintain. Strategies used to address this will be discussed.
The special needs of populations such as this are often disregarded in setting up sexual health clinics despite the toll in cervical cancer mortality. The clear lesson is the need to engage with the community, have a well respected Aboriginal health worker and continually concentrate on the benefits of sexual health screening despite concurrent illness.

Areas of Interest / Categories: WAS 2009

WAS 2009

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