Seeking local women to share their experiences of sexual and reproductive health.
Women’s Health Matters (WHM) has released a new online survey of women’s health. WHM needs more people to complete the survey to make women’s health needs more visible in the ACT.
The survey explores what women have to say about sexual and reproductive health, access to services, experiences with health professionals and more.
Early analysis of the survey responses indicates that reproductive health issues are common, but many people are not able to get effective medical help, and many lack access to affordable GP and specialist care.
Preliminary data from the survey shows around 30% of people had persistent pelvic pain (PPP) in the last 12 months, while about 35% of those who sought professional medical help about PPP were dissatisfied with the care received. Of those who had PPP, over 60% had missed study or work commitments as a result.
Lauren Anthes, CEO of Women’s Health Matters, says this early data is already beginning to shape new understanding about women’s health needs.
“Australian jurisdictions are moving towards a more strategic and holistic approach to sexual and reproductive health. With the new data from our survey helping to make these health needs visible, the ACT will be better positioned to respond.
It’s quite confronting seeing that many women who have health concerns are perhaps not feeling like they can get effective medical help”, Ms Anthes said.
Significant numbers (around 15-20% of responses so far) are also reporting they have been diagnosed or treated for endometriosis and/or polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS), with many dissatisfied with the medical care they have received for these conditions.
Information about women’s sexual and reproductive health is a major gap in ACT-specific data. Most existing datasets are too small to allow detailed local findings despite sexual and reproductive health and rights being key measures of gender equality.
The survey also explores mental health, safety and discrimination, as well as access to healthcare and satisfaction with services. It is also hoped that the survey will expand ACT level knowledge about the experiences of marginalised groups.
This survey has been made possible through a grant received from the Canberra Foundations Collaborative earlier this year. Georgina Byron, CEO of The Snow Foundation says projects like this one are important to improve healthcare in the ACT.
“Having a strong evidence base focused on the specific experiences and needs of women in the ACT will identify trends, priorities and opportunities to improve the health and well-being of the Canberra community”, Ms Byron said.