While New Zealand marks Breast Awareness Month throughout October, Whanganui District Health Board (WDHB) is quietly celebrating its position as the first central region DHB to have achieved the national breast screening target for Māori women.
WDHB director Māori Health Rowena Kui says it's a credit to Whanganui region's primary health and Māori health providers, that the target was reached in the 2015/16 year.
"The target is included in the WDHB's Māori Health Plan. We were confident that health providers across the region would link Whanganui women to breast screening services, and our confidence has been well placed," Mrs Kui says.
Meanwhile, WDHB Service and Business portfolio manager Candace Sixtus says the WDHB urges women between the ages of 45 and 69, to take advantage of New Zealand's free breast screening programme.
"While the WDHB has achieved the 70 percent target, we need to maintain the momentum," Mrs Sixtus says.
"There are still a number of women who are not engaged in the breast screening programme which provides a free mammogram for women aged 45-69 and is available in Whanganui.
"It's widely recognised that having a mammogram every two years reduces a woman's risk of dying of breast cancer."
BreastScreen Aotearoa can be called from 8am to 6pm, Monday to Friday. To enrol, book, or change your contact details, phone 0800 270 200 or go to www.breastscreen.govt.nz. A mammogram appointment takes less than 30 minutes and women are welcome to take a support person with them.