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The Ministry of Health target for participation in the BreastScreen Aotearoa programme is 70 per cent.
Breast Screen Counties Manukau is the contracted lead provider for the BreastScreen Aotearoa programme for the CM Health area. CM Health also has a contract for Screening Support Services to provide extra support for a priority group women who experience barriers to accessing breast and cervical screening services.
Breast Screen Counties Manukau is exceeding coverage targets for the total population and for Pacific women, but there is still a disparity for waahine Maaori. As at 31 August 2019, total coverage by CM Health for 50 to 69 year olds is 72 per cent; coverage for Pacific women in that age bracket is 84 per cent; and for Maaori women is 65 per cent.
Regular breast screening reduces breast cancer morbidity and mortality through early diagnosis, by allowing for treatment before the cancer grows and spreads. Maaori women have a higher incidence of breast cancer and are twice as likely to die from it as Pakeha women, mainly due to later diagnosis. Therefore, Maaori women can benefit most through participation in the programme and increasing Maaori coverage is a priority for Breast Screen Counties Manukau.
Our goal is to achieve 70 per cent coverage for Maaori participation in the BreastScreen Aotearoa programme for women aged 50 to 69 years by 30 June 2020.
To achieve this goal, Breast Screen Counties Manukau and the Screening Support Service have been providing an integrated service and working together on the following strategies.
Providing intensive follow up for women who do not respond to invitation letters or do not attend appointments.
The above strategies have seen small incremental increases in the programme’s coverage (see graph below).
We believe that to further improve coverage for Maaori women, new innovative strategies will need to be implemented, in addition to those described above.
Total BreastScreen Aotearoa coverage (%) of women aged 50–69 years in the two years ending June 2017, June 2018 and June 2019, by ethnicity.
Coverage has increased, but an inequity still exists for Maaori women.
In addition to the strategies already implemented, we have the following strategies planned for the 2019/2020 year.