Health minister Greg Hunt has marked Women’s Health Week by urging all Australian women to attend medical appointments and health checks, especially during the 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," said Minister Hunt.
"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."
The minister said postponing screening, other diagnostic tests, or advice from a doctor, could allow a condition to worsen and make it more difficult to treat.
"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," he said.
The 2021-22 Budget included a $535 million package of measures for women’s health.
Its major elements included $100 million to improve cervical and breast cancer screening programs, $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.
The minister said these initiatives build on the 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.