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A proactive, holistic approach to health is to keep screening rates for cervical cancer in Ballarat indigenous women above the national average, say health leaders at the area’s Aboriginal cooperative. According to a report by the Australian National University released this month, about a third of Aboriginal women and islanders in Torres Strait do cervical screening. The study found that despite access to vaccination and screening programs, Australian Indigenous women were just as likely to develop cervical cancer as in developing regions of the world. In comparison, nearly three out of four Ballarat indigenous women participate in screening through Ballarat Medical Clinic and District Aboriginal Cooperative. The national target quota is 70 percent. BADAC chief Karen Heap said the medical team is in constant touch with community members about routine health checkups, including breast exams. She said partnerships with key health officials are also vital to ensuring people feel culturally okay and safe. “We have had programs for a long time. People are used to what we do,” said Ms. Heap. “They feel very comfortable when they are tested and get what they need.” BADAC is preparing to launch a Do It Yourself project for Aboriginal women and Torres Strait Islander women to conduct a self-collected cervical screening test that has been shown to increase the rate of screening for Ballarat women. Ms. Heap said cervical screening rates for women ages 25 to 74 were lower across the state because routine screenings were missed during COVID restrictions. IN OTHER NEWS Australia’s goal is to reduce the number of cervical cancer cases in Australia’s indigenous population by 70 percent. However, Canberra-based researchers argue that the nation was far from achieving that goal. The report found that “cultural change” is required to ensure indigenous health equality and recommended strategies that focus on indigenous leadership, knowledge and solutions with ongoing community engagement . Our team of journalists work hard to bring local, breaking news to the Ballarat community. Here’s how you can still access our trusted content:

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A proactive, holistic approach to health is to keep screening rates for cervical cancer in Ballarat indigenous women above the national average, say health leaders at the area’s Aboriginal cooperative.

According to a report by the Australian National University released this month, about a third of Aboriginal women and islanders in Torres Strait do cervical screening.

The study found that despite access to vaccination and screening programs, Australian Indigenous women were just as likely to develop cervical cancer as in developing regions of the world.

In comparison, nearly three out of four Ballarat indigenous women participate in screening through Ballarat Medical Clinic and District Aboriginal Cooperative. The national target quota is 70 percent.

BADAC chief Karen Heap said the medical team is in constant touch with community members about routine health checkups, including breast exams. She said partnerships with key health officials are also vital to ensuring people feel culturally okay and safe.

Karen Heap, director of the Ballarat and District Aboriginal Cooperative

Karen Heap, director of the Ballarat and District Aboriginal Cooperative

“We have had programs for a long time. People are used to what we do,” said Ms. Heap. “They feel very comfortable when they are tested and get what they need.”

BADAC is preparing to launch a Do It Yourself project for Aboriginal women and Torres Strait Islander women to conduct a self-collected cervical screening test that has been shown to increase the rate of screening for Ballarat women.

Ms. Heap said cervical screening rates for women ages 25 to 74 were lower across the state because routine screenings were missed during COVID restrictions.

Australia’s goal is to reduce the number of cervical cancer cases in Australia’s indigenous population by 70 percent. However, Canberra-based researchers argue that the nation was far from achieving that goal.

The report found that there must be “cultural change” to ensure indigenous health equality and recommends strategies that rely on the leadership, knowledge and solutions of indigenous peoples with ongoing community engagement focus.

Our team of journalists work hard to bring local, breaking news to the Ballarat community. Here’s how you can still access our trusted content:

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