Women asked to ‘give their cervix some screen time’ in new campaign

Media release

24 February 2020

Young New Zealand women are being encouraged to look after their cervix in a powerful new media campaign designed to encourage regular cervical screening from 25 years of age.

The ‘Give your cervix some screen time’ campaign launches nationwide from 24 February and seeks to help women (and anyone with a cervix) feel informed, empowered and motivated to protect their body and future health through regular cervical screening.

The multi-layered media campaign from the Ministry of Health’s National Cervical Screening Programme features a series of dynamic videos starring a dancing cervix persona. The videos highlight the importance of cervical screening, not only to prevent cervical cancer, but also to protect future reproductive health, whakapapa and whānau wellbeing.

The campaign webpage Start to Screen features informational videos about what to expect when you go for a screen and why cervical screening is important. It also helps visitors to locate local screening providers.

The campaign will run until April and, while it is designed to engage all young women aged between 25 and 29 years, it has a particular focus on Māori and Pacific women, who are currently less likely to receive regular screening.

The campaign supports the change to the cervical screening starting age, from 20 to 25, which was implemented in November 2019 and brought New Zealand in line with international best practice. Other countries that commence screening at 25 years include the UK, Australia, France and Norway.

Dr Jane O’Hallahan, Clinical Director of the National Screening Unit, says the campaign is designed to connect with young women in a unique and engaging way and to help them understand the far-reaching benefits of screening. ‘In recent years, there has been a decline in screening participation rates for New Zealand women aged between 25 and 30 years, which is putting them at risk. We hope this campaign will support more young women to feel confident about participating in screening.’

The recommendation is to start screening from 25 years, explains Dr O’Hallahan; ‘The risk of developing cervical cancer goes up considerably after 25, so it’s not something you can delay.’

An ambassador for the campaign is NZ Olympian Kayla Imrie. Kayla says she’s supporting the campaign because it is important to her on a personal level. ‘Cervical cancer kills too many kiwi women every year and we need to change that. I know it’s not our favourite appointment, but regular cervical screening is important to keep us healthy, and it’s one we can’t afford to miss.’

The campaign was created by the Health Promotion Agency for the Ministry of Health. To view the new campaign web page visit Start to Screen.

View the campaign advertisements on our YouTube channel.

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