National Women's Health Policy

Focus on prevention

Page last updated: 07 February 2011

The focus on prevention was strongly endorsed. The need to recognise the barriers facing many disadvantaged communities as well as to support women’s empowerment and control over their own health was frequently mentioned. In delivering preventative health, health services were seen as needing to consider issues such as:

  • equity and access;
  • appropriate primary health care;
  • ongoing consultation with all stakeholders;
  • community development processes;
  • consultation and advocacy; and
  • health promotion and education that is both tailored to women and well targeted for priority groups of women.
These comments were typical of submissions:

Prevention is a key theme throughout this submission. A number of suggestions are made in regard to ways in which preventive health messages can be more effectively disseminated.
These include additional support and funding to introduce disease specific screening programs that take into account the most prevalent diseases/conditions at specific ages, and to identify women and populations at risk.

(The Jean Hailes Foundation for Women’s Health Submission p. 4)

We consider preventative health very important for immigrant and refugee women as they are currently missing out compared to other groups and we see the consequences. Immigrant and refugee women are under represented in preventative health services and over represented in the acute and crisis end of health and welfare services…Ageing migrants are over represented in some diseases such as diabetes and vitamin D deficiency. There is also a lower uptake of breast screening services in immigrant and refugee women.
(The Multicultural Centre for Women’s Health Submission pp. 12–13)

There was agreement that improving the health of all Australian women is important and the broad-based preventative strategies that have already significantly improved women’s health, such as breast and cervical cancer screening, and health campaigns about smoking, must continue.