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Cervical screening saves women’s lives. However the screenings are not routinely available in Solomon Islands and women there are dying from the cancer at 11 times the rate of Australian women (Australia: 1.6/100,000; Solomon Islands: 18/100,000).
Most health services in Solomon Islands are free and public health facilities can waive fees for patients who cannot afford to pay. The direct cost of health care itself may not be a key factor in a woman’s decision to seek health care for herself or her children, but women face more difficulty in accessing health care if they:
Additional barriers between women and potentially life-saving screenings and treatments include:
This project will work directly with communities in Malaita and Western Province, training community members as peer educators to increase community engagement and education on key messages.
The project will focus on reducing deaths from cervical cancer by increasing health-seeking behaviour, specifically cervical cancer screening. Peer educators will be trained and creative media produced to support women to increase the uptake of cervical cancer screening.
Activities will include:
The $20,000 raised through the Footprints Network will go towards:
SurfAid works through local structures, to ensure alignment with priority needs and also to increase sustainability through longer-term support from communities and relevant government departments. In line with this, the project addresses urgent health needs in support of Solomon Islands Government programs and priorities, especially those of Ministry of Health and Medical Services (MHMS).
SurfAid will work in partnership with Family Planning Australia (FPA) to deliver this project, with FPA building the capacity of local health staff to implement clinical screening and treatment services; and SurfAid building the capacity of peer educators and developing educational materials.
This project will expand SurfAid’s work to reach remote communities in the Pacific, addressing urgent health needs in support of Solomon Islands Government programs and priorities.
SurfAid’s partner for this project – Family Planning Australia’s cervical cancer screening and treatment program is implemented throughout Solomon Islands and across the Pacific. Introducing SurfAid’s strengths in community engagement and education is seen as key to increasing the reach and impact of this life-saving program.
This project links to SurfAid’s broader community-led health programs in remote Indonesian communities. Lessons learned from SurfAid’s Indonesian programs, translated to Solomon Islands context, will help improve implementation; whilst lessons learned through this Solomon Islands project will also be used to hone our model and approach across multiple contexts.
Currently in its first year, this project is part of SurfAid’s preparation for potential scale-up to broader women’s and children’s health program activities in Solomons, in line with community needs and capacity, and government priorities.