Media Release – Launch of Women’s Health Hub

Federal Minister for Health the Hon Sussan Ley MP to launch a new online resource that will assist health planners, policy makers, researchers and service providers improve women’s health and well-being.

For the first time in Australia the Women’s Health Hub: Australian Women’s Health Network Clearinghouse will provide a searchable, single entry point at the national level to access and share information on women’s health, which is free to all.

Recognising the difficulty in finding evidence informed research, policy and practice information that is widely dispersed, the Australian Women’s Health Network (AWHN) established the Women’s Health Hub.

The Hub has been designed as a collaborative tool for health workers to share and access knowledge and resources on women’s health and well-being.

AWHN CEO Kelly Banister said:
“There is so much terrific work that has been done to improve health and well-being outcomes for women around the country but it can be difficult and very time consuming to find.

“The Women’s Health Hub will address this problem by providing an easy and efficient way to access and share credible information on women’s health.

“There has been great support and enthusiasm for the Hub from other health organisations across the spectrum of service delivery, research, advocacy and policy development in its establishment phase and we anticipate this will continue as it is used and expands.”

The Women’s Health Hub will be launched at 9am on Thursday 11th June in Blacket Court, Justice & Police Museum, cnr Phillip and Albert Streets, Sydney.

Resources will also be able to be shared via social media portals using the hashtag #womenshealthhub

Link to Women’s Health Hub
www.awhn.org.au/healthhub

Media Enquiries

  • Interviews with Minister Sussan Ley considered on request.
  • Interviews also available with Chief Executive Officer Kelly Banister.

Contact:
Michelle Hoare, Communications Coordinator / 0412 044 952 / comms@awhn.org.au

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AWHN stands up to advance women’s health and well-being.
With our partners, we bring our expertise to influence policy and reform.

Photo of the event are available on our events page or on our Facebook page.

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Junkee Article on the Homeless Period

CEO, Kelly Banister provided comment to youth news site Junkee, on women, poverty and their ability to be able to afford sanitary products.

The article was prompted by a recent campaign in the UK known as the Homeless Period.

 

 

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Doing Better: Gender-Transformative Public Health Messages

Innovative new resource supports public health message makers to do better.

Monica Dux, Age columnist, author and women’s issues commentator said: “Doing Better: Gender-Transformative Public Health Messages is an important and opportune resource. The Australian Women’s Health Network have provided a clear and concise guide on how to best integrate gender into public health messages, as well as offering a persuasive argument as to why getting such public health messages right is so crucial, not just in order to be more inclusive, but also so that we might achieve better health outcomes for all.”

Professor Heather Yeatman, President of the Public Health Association of Australia said: “The new guidelines, Doing Better: Gender-Transformative Public Health Messages, are a very welcome and timely contribution to public health practice, particularly health messaging in the media. Gender, along with other social determinants of health, creates conditions for health or ill-health, so public health initiatives need to ensure they don’t reinforce social stereotypes.”

“The guidelines provide very practical advice on how to present our public health messages and they challenge us to demand more social responsibility from practitioners and governments about both gender and health equity,” she added.

AWHN CEO Kelly Banister said there is an increasing understanding that women and men experience different health issues, higher risk for some illnesses or diseases, or even the same conditions differently. Among women and among men, there are also different opportunities for health and well-being, often affected by social, cultural and economic factors.

“It is not enough to be sensitive to sex and gender issues when creating health messages,” Ms Banister said.

“Being discriminated against and stereotyped clearly leads to poor health outcomes. The use and exploitation of gender stereotypes to get a health message across reinforces the stereotype and undermines the health of those targeted by the message,”

“Smoking cessation messages targeting pregnant women, for example, that shame a woman into stopping smoking is likely to increase her levels of stress and therefore her risk of developing mental illnesses, such as anxiety, depression and self-harm. Messages that shame lead to social isolation, or hiding the behavior, which in turn reduces her access to appropriate services,” Ms Banister said.

“Taking all of these issues into account – the different experience of health, different access to resources for health, and sex role stereotyping – will make sure that public health messages and campaigns are effective and relevant to all Australians. For example, tailoring messages on smoking prevention to girls and boys, taking into account their particular circumstances is a powerful response to heavily gendered tobacco marketing messages, such as the rugged man and sophisticated woman.”

It is crucial to make sure messages, campaigns and information designed to promote health and generate consideration of healthy choices do not reinforce negative gender stereotypes in public health and health promotion. The principles and planning steps in this resource will assist agencies, governments, public health and health promotion practitioners and policy makers in creating initiatives that make such a positive difference.

“The end goal is to ensure that public health messages and health promotion are highly successful, resulting in better overall improved health for all people regardless of gender,” Ms Banister said.

 

For media enquiries, contact:
Kelly Banister, Chief Executive Officer
0408 061 901 | ceo@awhn.org.auFacebookTwitter

AWHN stands up to advance women’s health and well-being.
With our partners, we bring our expertise to influence policy and reform.

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Data on Australian Infant and Child Mortality

Child Mortality Data Liquid Gold for Health Policymakers.

The detailed data on Australian infant and child mortality produced this week by the National Health Performance Authority is liquid gold for health policymakers, the Australian Women’s Health Network (AWHN) claims. Not only are surprising variations in mortality rates revealed but the report also provides information on low birth weight, smoking during pregnancy and access to antenatal care. Such fine-tuned data has not been available previously and it owes its appearance to the capacity of Medicare Locals the existence of a National Health Performance Authority.

“Whatever institutional changes are made in the health field in future, it is the essential that local organisations with the capacity to facilitate localised data collection continue to exist and that we maintain national overview organisations concerned with data collection, efficiency and preventive population health approaches, such as the National Health Performance Authority”, Dr Gwen Gray, AWHN Deputy Chairperson said today.

The study shows surprising variations in child mortality rates across the country, variations that policymakers could not have anticipated. For example, it is shown that there is enormous variation in child death rates even within wealthy communities and that birth weight varies by up to 5 times in socio-economically similar communities.

Among the findings that are not surprising is that there is a strong relationship between access to prenatal care early in pregnancies and positive infant and child health outcomes. “International research demonstrates convincingly that midwife led maternity care arrangements in which women are followed and supported throughout their pregnancies and in the period afterwards results in child health better outcomes” a spokeswoman said. Such primary health care systems operate in many countries, including New Zealand, the United Kingdom and Canada, all of which have lower infant mortality rates than Australia.

Another unsurprising finding is that Aboriginal children have far higher mortality rates than non-Aboriginal children, a situation that needs to be addressed urgently by policymakers in consultation with Indigenous communities.

 

For media enquiries, contact:
Kelly Banister, Chief Executive Officer
0408 061 901 | ceo@awhn.org.auFacebookTwitter

AWHN stands up to advance women’s health and well-being.
With our partners, we bring our expertise to influence policy and reform.

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The Impact on Women’s Health of Climatic and Economic Disaster

Climate change and economic disasters provide opportunities to focus on women’s health.

The Australian Women’s Health Network (AWHN) has released a position paper which identifies the effects on women’s rights and women’s health during periods of intense climatic and economic change.

The paper titled The Impact on Women’s Health of Climate and Economic Disaster explains the effects and challenges of climate change and economic instability on women, and provides a series of recommendations for governments, organisations and individuals.

AWHN CEO Kelly Banister said:

‘For many Australian women, consequences of economic disasters can include loss of employment, employment instability, decrease in wages, high levels of stress related illness and increased male violence.’

‘Studies have suggested that in Australia the effects of climatic disaster impacts on women more than men. In the aftermath of the Black Saturday bushfires in Victoria, there was an increase in violence against women from men struggling to deal with the psychological effects of the disaster.’

‘Job losses during times of economic hardship can have many serious effects on the health of women. Some of these effects include increased financial stress on women solely responsible for dependants, lower take up of health-promoting activities, increased male violence against women and women’s reduced financial capacity to leave unsafe relationships.’

‘This is a critical time for the women’s health sector to engage with global politics. This will ensure continued improvements in women’s rights and ultimately improvements in women’s health on a global scale.’

The position paper provides a clear focus on the importance of understanding economic and political systems as a prerequisite for action on climate change and women’s inequality.

For media enquiries, contact:
Kelly Banister, Chief Executive Officer
0408 061 901 | ceo@awhn.org.auFacebookTwitter

AWHN stands up to advance women’s health and well-being.
With our partners, we bring our expertise to influence policy and reform.

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Health and the Primary Prevention of Violence against Women

Recommendations for a way forward in eliminating violence against women.

The Australian Women’s Health Network (AWHN) has released a position paper which focuses on best practices for the primary prevention of violence perpetrated by men against women.

The paper Health and the Primary Prevention of Violence against Women has been developed as a resource for public education, debate and community activities engaged in the primary prevention of violence against women, as distinct from secondary and tertiary interventions.

AWHN CEO Kelly Banister said:

‘Gender based violence is a complex social problem with serious health, social and economic consequences.’

‘If this violence is to be stopped from occurring in the first place, a long term commitment to significant investment in primary prevention is crucial. In the medium term, the provision of intervention and support services for women and their children who have experienced violence must be expanded.’

‘This new AWHN resource provides practical steps that can be taken in the development of effective violence prevention action, and in supporting and improving existing strategies.’

Paul Linossier, CEO of the Foundation to Prevent Violence against Women and their Children, welcomed the AWHN Position Paper on Health and the Primary Prevention of Violence against Women.

‘The paper comes at an important time as the Foundation completes its longer term strategic plan and prepares, with partners ANROWS and VicHealth, for the nation-wide consultation for the development of the first national primary prevention framework.’

Violence against women is not an isolated or occasional occurrence, but a pattern of behavior that violates the human rights of women and girls. It is made possible by the sexism and violence supportive attitudes and behavior prevalent in Australian society.

Ms Banister said stopping violence against women will take a persistent whole of community approach and strong leadership to bring about the widespread cultural change that is necessary. ‘Culture is continually being created so we can change it to make violence against women unacceptable and put a stop to it.’

‘There are already many small and medium sized primary prevention programs taking this type of approach. AWHN continues to build on this work at the national level through collaboration with the Foundation and other key partners and advocacy for the implementation of recommendations made in the Health and the Primary Prevention of Violence against Women resource.’

The paper gives summaries of national, state and territory plans to address violence against women, and makes recommendations to these governments, primary prevention organisations and practitioners for coordinated action across research, policy, and program areas.

 

For media enquiries, contact:
Kelly Banister, Chief Executive Officer
0408 061 901 | ceo@awhn.org.auFacebookTwitter

AWHN stands up to advance women’s health and well-being.
With our partners, we bring our expertise to influence policy and reform.

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Women and Non-Communicable Diseases (Chronic Conditions)

A new approach is needed to improve the lives of women with chronic health conditions.

The Australian Women’s Health Network (AWHN) has released a position paper outlining recommendations to improve the prevention, diagnosis and treatment of chronic conditions for women.

The paper Women and Non-Communicable Diseases (Chronic Conditions) examines the gender implications of diseases such as diabetes, heart disease and lung cancer, and highlights specific areas where women’s experience of chronic health is treated differently to men, and the areas where change is needed.

AWHN CEO Kelly Banister said:

“Chronic diseases are the number one cause of death and disablement for women and men globally. In Australia there is increased recognition that women and men experience those conditions differently”

“Research shows that women experience a higher burden from chronic disease and live more years of life with a disability from chronic disease than men.”

“Failure to act on gender differences in chronic disease prevention and treatment costs lives. It is no longer satisfactory for prevention and treatment guidelines to remain gender neutral.”

“The AWHN would like Australian governments to show leadership, along with peak health bodies to drive change in policy and research by understanding the ways gender affects chronic disease.”

The position paper outlines a number of key recommendations to improve the prevention, diagnosis and treatment of chronic conditions for women including:

  1. Creation of guidelines for the equal inclusion of women in clinical trials
  2. Continued research in exploring the causes of the sex differences in chronic disease.
  3. Peak health bodies to move beyond gender neutral positions currently adopted.
  4. The Federal Government to ensure that peak health bodies develop gender sensitive guidelines.
  5. Federal, State and Territory Governments rewrite all current gender neutral policies so that they identify gender differences and what needs to happen for gender equity to be achieved.
  6. Provision of integrated women’s health services which are comprehensive, holistic and incorporate a life-span gender-sensitive approach.

For media enquiries, contact:
Kelly Banister, Chief Executive Officer
0408 061 901 | ceo@awhn.org.auFacebookTwitter

AWHN stands up to advance women’s health and well-being.
With our partners, we bring our expertise to influence policy and reform.

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