New Campaign Aims to Boost Cervical Screening Rates Among Pasifika Women

New Campaign Aims to Boost Cervical Screening Rates Among Pasifika Women

The New Zealand health authorities have launched Mission 1000, a campaign to increase cervical screening rates among Pasifika women. The campaign aims to initially register 1000 Pasifika women for a new self-test that detects the presence of Human Papillomavirus (HPV), which is responsible for almost all cases of cervical cancer. The self-test allows women to screen themselves in the comfort of their own homes, providing a more convenient and culturally sensitive option.

Pasifika women currently have some of the lowest cervical screening rates in the country. The self-test is expected to improve these rates as it is quicker and easier to perform. Epifania Leo’o, support to screen provider, highlighted the importance of the campaign, stating that Pasifika women often neglect their own health due to taking care of others. With this campaign, women can take a moment to prioritize their own well-being while healthcare workers guide them through the process.

Dr. Vanisi Prescott, a Tongan-born doctor and TikTok star, will host a discussion panel at the campaign launch event. She has attracted a large following on social media, where she shares information about health and encourages preventive measures. The latest data from the National Screening Unit indicates that Pasifika women are 12% less likely to undergo cervical screening compared to mainstream groups.

Cervical cancer is more prevalent among Pasifika women, who are also twice as likely to die from the disease compared to European women. While cervical screening and HPV vaccination have significantly reduced cervical cancer rates in New Zealand, around 180 people are still diagnosed with the disease each year, resulting in approximately 60 deaths annually. The campaign seeks to address the barriers that prevent Pasifika women from accessing screening services, providing free screening for Pacific people and other under-screened groups.

The Pacific Cervical Screening campaign will officially launch on Saturday at the Pacific Islanders’ Presbyterian Church in Newtown, Wellington, offering free health checks and HPV self-tests. The campaign aims to improve screening rates among Pasifika women and ultimately save lives.

– National Cervical Screening Programme
– Dr. Vanisi Prescott’s TikTok account

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