Innovative ideas used to ease reluctance over Cervical screening

By Te Kāea
  • Auckland

Māori Health Services in West Auckland are implementing innovative ideas to ease any reluctance women may have to being tested for Cervical Cancer.

This month is Cervical Screening Awareness Month, and statistics show a decline in the number of Māori woman getting themselves tested.

Peninsula Medical Centre in Te Atatu has adapted the idea of a Māori student nurse and installed fairy lights in their cervical screening room.

Practice Nurse, Cynthia Sutcliffe says the Māori student nurse who came up with the concept “did some self reflection as to why she wouldn’t get herself tested, and found that the bright lights were a barrier, hence the idea to install the fairy lights.”

Sutcliffe says they installed the lights over a year ago, and it’s a hit with the women who come.  She says the women feel the fairy lights are calming and non-invasive, during the screening, which is when women often feel the most apprehensive and nervous.

The clinic’s cervical smear service is overseen by the National Cervical Screening Programme, and is available to women between the ages of 20 to 70, for free or at a reduced cost for Māori, Pacific Island and high-needs women

The screening test checks for abnormal cell changes to the cervix, reducing the risk of women developing cervical cancer.