Pam­per day cel­e­brates women’s health

The Invercargill Eye - - FRONT PAGE - REBECCA MOORE

For some it’s a scary time, even em­bar­rass­ing, so a group of women set up a pam­per day to en­cour­age In­ver­cargill wahine (women) to break the stigma about smears.

The Mana Wahine Health and Pam­per day on Fri­day at Awarua So­cial and Health Ser­vices in In­ver­cargill had about 100 women at­tend, most with their fam­ily and friends, to get a smear and en­joy some pam­per­ing af­ter­wards.

Mauri ora kaimahi (health pro­moter) Na­dine Young was or­gan­is­ing the event this year, which was in its third year run­ning.

The pur­pose was to sup­port Cer­vi­cal Screen­ing Aware­ness month, she said.

The women got mas­sages, ta¯ moko Ma¯ori tat­toos, hair styling, nail art and other beauty ser­vices, af­ter their free cer­vi­cal screens which were pro­vided by on-site nurses.

Young said there was a lack of Ma¯ori women who would reg­u­larly have smears done, so the day was im­por­tant to pro­vide both ed­u­ca­tion and sup­port for them.

Work­ing with busi­nesses, in­clud­ing the Heart Foun­da­tion, Loss and Grief Cen­tre, Can­cer So­ci­ety and South­ern Dis­trict Health Board cer­vi­cal screen­ing ad­vi­sor Sue Smith, Young hoped the day would help to in­crease the num­ber of women who got smears. Even if they did not get a smear on the day, it was good to pro­vide some ed­u­ca­tion for the women, she said.

Num­bers of peo­ple at­tend­ing the day had grown in the past three years.

‘‘It’s been amaz­ing, I couldn’t wish for it to be bet­ter.

‘‘We had from young mums to older women.

‘‘It’s about get­ting women to treat them­selves. Lots of them re­ally en­joy the pam­per as­pect.’’

Sis­ters, mums and daugh­ters and small groups of friends were the most com­mon, she said.

Awarua So­cial & Health Ser­vices wha¯nau ora nav­i­ga­tor and health pro­moter Crys­tal El­lis said it was im­por­tant to ‘‘dumb down the stigma’’ about get­ting a smear.

The pam­per day was an ac­ces­si­ble, fun and sup­port­ive day for the women to come to­gether.

‘‘It’s women help­ing women.’’ Ev­ery year, 160 women are di­ag­nosed with cer­vi­cal can­cer in New Zealand, and 50 women die from it.

Hav­ing reg­u­lar cer­vi­cal smear tests re­duces the risk of de­vel­op­ing cer­vi­cal can­cer by 90 per cent.

REBECCA MOORE/STUFF

South­ern Institute of Technology mas­sage stu­dent Cate Thom­son gives Pip Hart­ley a mas­sage.

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