About 4,000 Nepal-born people are living in Victoria, but many Nepalese-Australian women have never had a breast screen. Women from culturally diverse backgrounds can face unique barriers to screening, such as language barriers and fear.
Didi Bahini Samaj Victoria (DBSV) is a female-led organisation that aims to advance, promote, and empower Nepalese women's rights in Victoria.
In September’, volunteers at DBSV coordinated four group bookings at three BreastScreen clinics - Broadmeadows, Epping, and Werribee. Out of 42 women that had a beast screen, 36 had never screened before.
Most of the women, 35 out of 42, spoke a language other than English at home. DBSV assigned each a group a leader who acted as the interpreter on the day. The group setting, combined with the leadership of DBSV volunteers, ensured that these women had a culturally safe and comfortable experience.
Jamuna Parajuli, Nepalese woman and executive at DBSV, said the bookings provided a safe space for the women:
"Nepali women had this opportunity of breast screening, which they never had before. Doing this in a group made women feel connected, safe and less apprehensive about the test.
“Women also had the chance to discuss their concerns and share their experience. Now more women are aware of the need for breast screening and general awareness in the DBSV community has been increased."
BreastScreen Victoria provided resources and information to the group leaders helped with transport to and from clinics. The flexibility of BreastScreen staff at the clinics and in the service delivery team ensured that these bookings ran smoothly.
BreastScreen Victoria will continue to work with the Nepalese-Australian community to help reduce barriers for screening.