In the first of its kind, fashion retailers, a gallery, community providers, and a health ministry collaborated on a Cervical Screening pop-up shop.
The Hibiscus Room, a private and vibrant temporary space where women could complete the new HPV self-test, was activated in Onehunga Mall last Friday – the Cervical Cancer Elimination Day of Action. The one-day pop-up was part of a Pacific Cervical Screening campaign initiative to encourage women to try the new HPV self-test.
The new HPV test includes the option of a quick and simple swab that people can choose to do as a self-test or have a clinician assist with. It detects the presence of the human papillomavirus (HPV) which causes more than 95 percent of cervical cancers.
The event was led by Te Whatu Ora’s National Cervical Screening Programme in partnership with health providers Pasefika Family Health Group and the Village Collective, and retailers TAV Pacific, MENA, and LAKA Gallery. Women were able to pre-book their screening or walk-in on the day.
Sheena Tavioni, owner of designer fashion store TAV Pacific, said the cervical screening message was very close to her because she had lost family to the preventable (if caught early) disease.
“My aunty passed away in her early 30s and left behind three young children. The more we embrace cervical screening, the more we empower women to take control of their health. My callout is to make it a topic of conversation so we can spread more awareness and get other women onboard to take the opportunity to get screening done and save lives,” she said.
Dr Jane O’Hallahan, Clinical Lead, Screening, Te Whatu Ora said: “The uptake of the new HPV self-test continues to grow as our outreach increases. This is hugely significant for Pacific and other underscreened groups who may have avoided screening due to cultural barriers in particular. The choice to control the test themselves, in private, is already making an impact.”
Three women who tried the new HPV self-test at the Hibiscus Room pop-up hadn’t been tested in 25 years, and four women were first time screeners.
Support to Screen provider Emily Toimata-Holtham said: “The new HPV self-test has made a big difference, especially for our women who haven’t been screened, because it is easy and less invasive – they feel empowered to do it themselves.”
Further information is available at www.timetocervicalscreen.nz