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Success Following First Nations Breast Cancer Screening Grants

A grant program to address the growing number of under-screened communities eligible to participate in the National Breast Screening Program has delivered significant improvements to screening rates of First Nations people across the Hunter New England and Central Coast Primary Health Network (HNECC PHN) region.

The HNECC PHN grants were distributed between Aboriginal Medical Services (AMS) and Breast Screen NSW to increase First Nations participation in the National Breast Screen Program. The collaboration relied on evidence-based projects and strategies including education and health promotion activities, and promotion of Breast Screen NSW services.

Nine successful organisations from across the HNECC PHN were provided $5000 in funding to design and deliver culturally supportive approaches to improving breast screening. Strategies included social media campaigns, traditional media and newspaper advertising, posters and engagement with local business and community services. Grant funding was also provided to Breast Screen NSW to collaboratively compliment the activities the AMS’s delivered under these grants.

Yerin Eleanor Duncan Aboriginal Health Services directed its grant funds towards the Ngnamus Bus breast screening program. The Yerin team promoted the service through an educational community morning tea and elders’ lunch, social media, flyers sent to local business and community groups for sharing and the development of promotional materials such as beanies and shirts which were given to participating women as incentives for screening.

This resulted in:

  • 47 community attendees at the morning tea
  • 61 elders at the lunch
  • 35 attendees at the Women’s Group in-service
  • 8 participants per Ngnamus Breast Screening Bus Program
  • 94 patient screenings were achieved as a result of the grant funding

Success stories from the Yerin Ngnamus Bus Program included one participant who was overdue for a breast screen. With support from the Cancer Navigator from the Ngnamus Bus Program, a commitment was made by the client to attend for a check. The client’s screening detected a cyst that may have caused long-term health issues if left undetected.

Another client who was experiencing social isolation issues (due to another cancer diagnosis) committed to attending for a breast screen. The client was able to make cultural connections within the program with fellow community women. This client is now attending regular community programs to obtain additional support on her cancer journey.

Well done to everyone working with the Yerin Ngnamus Bus Program on these terrific results.

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