Women’s health not-for-profit organisation, Jean Hailes, has called on women and girls to check back in on their health during Women’s Health Week (7-11 September) after fears some are missing out on essential health checks during COVID-19.
Data from Continuity of Care Collaboration (CCC), a national group of 35 peak bodies, industry, and healthcare organisations, indicates a national drop in cervical screening tests by as much as 67% in April and around a 40% drop in people attending for pathology tests since pandemic restrictions began in mid-March.
Jean Hailes acting CEO and patron, Janet Michelmore, said regular health checks and screenings were an essential part of every woman’s health routine.
“Health checks are such an important part of disease prevention, and not only help you stay healthy, but can improve your overall health and wellbeing,” Ms Michelmore said.
“Women’s Health Week is a timely reminder for women to take positive and proactive steps to being healthy in mind and body.
“This year we are encouraging women and girls to use the week to review and schedule any health checks that may have been missed over the past months, as well as check in on their overall health, both physical and mental.
“The week is centred on improving women’s health with practical tips and information to help make healthier choices.”
Pathology Awareness Australia Chair and founding member of CCC, John Crothers, said with the exception of Victoria, pathology testing rates across Australia were finally returning to levels seen before COVID-19; however, Victoria saw significant falls in testing rates during stage four lockdown.
“This is despite the fact there are no restrictions on people going to a doctor to get a medical test,” Mr Crothers said.
“The message is not getting through and patients are not attending pathology testing central to their healthcare. We are also aware that many who missed earlier testing need to ensure they have these re-scheduled.”
Women and girls can visit womenshealthweek.com.au to learn more about looking after their health and wellbeing.
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Women and girls can also get involved by joining in some of the 1,200+ events registered Australia-wide, both online and face-to-face.