Ahead of tomorrow night’s 2021 Federal Budget, Federal Health Minister Greg Hunt has announced $350 million of funding towards women’s health.
Among the announcement’s initiatives were two issues that disproportionately affect Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Women; Cervical Cancer screening and Preterm birth prevention. Both of which occur at around double the rate of non-indigenous women.
Will the $100 million increase into cervical and breast cancer screening respond to the health needs of Indigenous women?
Dr Tamara Butler, Post-doctoral researcher at Menzies School of Medical Research, says that opening out the the Self-collection initiative at the National Cervical Screening Program would be an effective way of addressing the cultural and logistical challenges faced by Indigenous women.
Minister Hunt says the Preterm birth rate for Indigenous women is a issue this new funding is set on improving. Almost $14 million of the announcement is going towards expanding the Australian Preterm Birth Prevention Alliance’s indigenous health program.
For Dr Butler, the announcement is a promising step towards meeting the health needs of all Australian women, and a welcome one at that.
She hopes however, the government will use this opportunity to get specific in its funding of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women’s health which has for too long been ignored.