The aim of this paper is to understand knowledge and awareness of gynaecological cancer among Pacific women. The key objectives are to examine the level of awareness Pacific women have about gynaecological cancers, to identify the barriers accessing gynaecological services and to obtain feedback as to what would be the best way of educating and informing Pacific women.
Data was collected through semi structured interviews which took place in Auckland. Twenty Pasifika women were interviewed during 2015-2017. A general inductive approach was used to analyse the data. Ethical approval was granted by the University of Auckland Human Subjects Committee Ethics Reference Number 016670.
The definitions of gynaecology varied with many Pacific women never hearing of the term gynaecological cancers. The women identified that their primary sources of information for health and gynaecological health were; personal experiences, relatives that were previously diagnosed, health professionals, pamphlets and posters, school sex education, referrals through the health system, website searches, friends and family.
There were a number of barriers to accessing gynaecological services. These included a lack of awareness of services, personal fear, shame, busy schedules, physical examinations, and attitudes, preference for a female doctor, poor health literacy, language difficulties, costs, public health system versus private health system.,
Participants identified a number of key areas strategies for gynaecological cancers. Their needs to be more information about the types of services that are available, accessing services, community outreach programmes and services, flexible opening hours and culturally appropriate information.
Given the multi-faceted and complex nature of this project, the recommendations provided are multi-levelled and will require inter-sectoral partnerships for community and education awareness is needed to enhance Pacific women’s access to gynaecological services in New Zealand.