Pacific women are amongst the 600 women dying of breast cancer in New Zealand every year, where early detection is the best protection.
In November 2010 screening rates for Pacific women aged 45 to 69 were 64%; considerably lower than the 70.3% for non-Maori / non-Pacific women.
However, the latest figures released by BreastScreen Aotearoa are very encouraging.
Screening rates for Pasifika women aged 45 to 69 have increased to 72% of the eligible population since 2010. In the same period, screening rates for Maori women increased from 60% to 65%.
Togiai Vaifagaloa Naseri, Health Star Pacific General Manager, is ecstatic, saying “Provider collaboration is key to breast screening success for Pacific results”.
As the Pacific independent service provider, Health Star Pacific’s input to provider collaboration and its innovative approach in engaging Pacific communities is well noted.
Radio programs in the various Pacific languages, delivering health sessions at Pacific churches and community venues, participating in health promotion events and Polyfest are just a few of the activities where Health Star Pacific leads the way.
According to Helen Framhein Wong, Recruitment and Retention – Pacific Specialist with BreastScreen Counties Manukau, “At Polyfest, we got great response. Radio initiatives are going well and this is reflected by the number of calls we have been getting for appointments.”
Last month, Counties Manukau District Health Board (CMDHB) with an eligible population of around 67,938 women clocked their highest ever screening figure for a single month, screening exactly 2,500 women and also reaching their Maori and Pacific goal for the month.
BreastScreen Aotearoa and providers are doing an outstanding job with collaboration from ISP planning meetings to hands on collective campaigning like the recent Polyfest where Health Star Pacific (HSPT), BreastScreen Counties Manukau (BSCM) and BreastScreen Auckland Limited (BSAL) teamed up to promote Breast Screening.
Breast Screening is a success story where Pacific statistics gets the thumbs up for a change.