BreastScreen Victoria works hard to engage with culturally and linguistically diverse clients across the state to boost screening rates in these under-screened communities. A recent screening session for Karen women in Bendigo was a perfect example of this idea in action.
The event on 15 September was designed to educate the local Karen community members on the importance of regular breast screening between the ages of 50–74 and how to be breast aware. Attendees were also screened on the day, with two bilingual health educators interpreting where required.
Women received their mammograms in two groups. While waiting, they watched an in-language educational video presented by Ma Paw, a Bilingual Health Promotion Officer at Women's Health Loddon Malley (WHLM).
Bendigo BreastScreen has organised screening events for the Karen community since 2019 with the help of WHLM and Karen community leaders. The September event is the second of 2021; another successful session was held in May. The program has been so well received that community leaders have requested it be held every six months.
Elise Kornmann, Nurse Counsellor at BreastScreen Bendigo, said the event was an enormous success.
"14 participants received their mammogram. All agreed that the education video increased their knowledge of how and why breast screening is performed," Elisa said. "Many participants took photos of the slides and agreed that they feel more confident screening, will screen when they are next due and will encourage their family and friends to screen."
The ability for Karen women to get to their screening appointments was identified as a barrier ahead of time. On the day, taxi vouchers were provided to drivers so that no one missed out for lack of transport. This was made possible thanks to the collaboration between BreastScreen Victoria, Bendigo Health, and Bendigo Community Health Services.
"Great thanks and appreciation are for all partners involved in the planning and running of this highly successful community event," said Elise.