As we mark Women’s Health Week, I continue to urge all Australian women to attend medical appointments and health checks, especially during lockdown.
While COVID-19 remains a massive public health concern, women of all ages continue to battle personal health and medical issues. While many Australian women are increasingly using services such as telehealth, some medical issues still require a visit to their GP or specialist.
Obtaining essential health care is one of the allowable reasons for leaving home during a lockdown. While some services have seen temporary interruptions during the COVID-19 pandemic, our health system remains in a strong position to support Australian women with health challenges.
Postponing screening, other diagnostic tests, or advice from a doctor, could allow a condition to worsen and make it more difficult to treat. The Australian healthcare system is there to support you through the COVID-19 pandemic and beyond.
Getting a COVID-19 vaccination or test are also valid reasons for leaving home during lockdown. At this time, the biggest single thing Australian women can do to protect their health and the health of their communities is to get a COVID-19 vaccine.
Vaccination is now available through mass clinics, GPs and pharmacies. You can check your eligibility by using the link on the Department of Health website.
Vaccination provides increased safety and surety. It greatly reduces the risk of becoming seriously ill with the virus and also makes it less likely that you will infect others, if you do contract it. The need for lockdowns will reduce as more of us are vaccinated.
Supporting and improving the health of all Australian women and girls, including Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, is a priority for the Australian Government. Thousands of women will benefit from the $535 million package of measures specifically for women’s health, announced in the 2021-22 Budget.
Major elements of the package include:
- $100 million to improve cervical and breast cancer screening programs
- $96 million to provide Medicare subsidies for testing of IVF embryos for genetic faults, before implantation
- $47 million to increase support for the mental health and wellbeing of new and expectant parents, including work on universal perinatal mental health screening, and
- $26 million for women’s health initiatives, including funding to Jean Hailes for Women’s Health and the Pelvic Pain Foundation of Australia for the Periods, Pain and Endometriosis Program (PPEP-Talk).
This significant investment builds on our Government’s commitment to implementing the National Women’s Health Strategy 2020–2030.
The strategy has five priority areas: maternal, sexual and reproductive health; healthy ageing; chronic conditions and preventive health; mental health; and the health impacts of violence against women and girls.
Respect, dignity, choice, equality of opportunity and justice are fundamental to the safety, economic security and wellbeing of women in Australia.