05 Sep Women’s health services at our fingertips
During Women’s Health Week Timboon and District Healthcare Service (TDHS) Women’s Health Nurse Amanda Nash reminds local women to take advantage of the full range of services available at TDHS and other healthcare services and clinics in our district.
Amanda recently returned to volunteering her nursing skills internationally in Fiji after a two-year break due to COVID lockdowns. She has witnessed the challenges that women in developing countries experience in obtaining healthcare, and urges people to benefit from the resources accessible in the district, including those offered by TDHS.
Amanda volunteers for the Loloma Foundation – a California-based mission dedicated to providing sustainable medical, dental and infrastructure support to rural communities in the South Pacific.
Part of Amanda’s volunteer role is to provide women’s health services as well as health education. During her two weeks on the remote Tavenui Island her role alternated between providing cervical screening and delivering Days for Girls education.
“Cervical cancer is a known killer and my role for the week was, among other things, talking to young girls and women about women’s health issues including the cervical cancer vaccine,” Amanda said.
The Days for Girls are events where girls receive education that helps break the taboos and stigma of menstruation. Following the education session, kits are distributed to girls and women which contain reusable menstrual items, underwear, soap and a facewasher in a beautiful drawstring bag.
During this trip over 636 women and girls attended the sessions and received the kits. 123 Pap tests and 128 examinations were also carried out during Amanda’s visit.
“It’s a different world – many girls don’t go to school when they have their period because they don’t have the products to deal with it, so their education suffers and they become disadvantaged and so it goes on,” she said.
“They are over the moon to get these kits – it makes such a difference to their lives and I’d encourage anyone who can to visit the Days for Girls website and donate or get involved by making the kits.”
Mrs Nash took with her a box of bras that TDHS staff, Timboon Op Shop and members of the Port Campbell community had donated. In scenes reminiscent of the Boxing Day Sales the Fijian women took great joy in receiving the underwear.
Taveuni Island is a 90-minute flight from Fiji’s Nadi international airport on a small 20-seater plane. It is quite isolated. Previously the island received supplies twice weekly, but with burgeoning fuel prices this has been reduced to a single delivery by barge each week. Grocery items are quite expensive too, with tomatoes selling for $38/kg FJD which equates to almost $25/kg AUD.
Amanda’s volunteering has taken her to countries including Fiji, Nepal and the Solomon Islands. She cannot stress enough; we have much better access to services here than the countries she has volunteered in.
“It’s just a phone call away, yet people take it for granted. Sometimes it takes a bit of prompting and urging to get people to book for essential appointments including cervical screening and mammograms.”
For more information or to book an appointment at our Well Women’s Clinic, please phone (03) 5558 6000. Or you can contact the Timboon Clinic on (03) 5558 6088 to see one of our GPs.
WOMEN’S HEALTH WEEK
Jean Hailes Women’s Health Week 5-11 September 2022
Women’s Health Week is a nation-wide campaign centred on improving women’s health and supporting you to make healthier choices.
Every September, for one week, Women’s Health Week is a reminder to set aside time for women’s health and wellbeing. Make an appointment for a health check, get active, join an event or simply connect with other women. Women don’t have to do it alone.
Register for Women’s Health Week to receive daily updates direct into your inbox – www.womenshealthweek.com.au