A joint project between Western NSW Local Health District (LHD), Orange Aboriginal Medical Service (OAMS), the NSW Rural Doctors Network and the Royal Hospital for Women, Randwick has won a peak award at 2014 NSW Aboriginal Health Awards.
Empowering Aboriginal Women to Access Colposcopy and Gynaecology services in Rural and Remote NSW took out the NSW Health Secretary’s Award for Aboriginal Health at last night’s Award presentation in Sydney.
The NSW Aboriginal Health awards aim to recognise efforts to close the health gap between Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal people and focus on program design and innovation.
Project representative Leonie Parker from Condobolin Community Health said winning the Health Secretary’s Award was a very exciting moment for all of those involved in the project.
“The project has been such a success because of the strong team effort from all four organisations involved and we are thrilled that we have been acknowledged at a State level among our peers for the work we are doing,” Ms Parker said.
Colposcopy is the examination of the cervix under magnification, from which cervical biopsies may be taken. A referral is made for colposcopy for a number of reasons but is most often used when an abnormal pap smear result is identified. In Australia, colposcopy has long been the domain of a Gynaecologist.
“The service is the first of its kind in Australia and is modelled on nurse-led colposcopy in the US and UK where they have been safely and effectively providing this service for decades, particularly in areas of high risk populations and remote communities,” Ms Parker said.
“Our nurse-led service improves access to affordable care for Aboriginal women in rural and remote NSW which is culturally appropriate.
“It’s been very successful in treating and potentially preventing cancer in women who may otherwise not have accessed appropriate health services”.
Empowering Aboriginal Women to Access Colposcopy and Gynaecology services in Rural and Remote NSW also won the ACI Innovation Award at the Western NSW LHD Awards Expo in August this year.
The colposcopy service is funded by the Australian Government’s Indigenous Specialist Outreach Assistance Program.