Despite The $354M Women’s Health Package, The Government Needs To Do More

Despite The $354M Women’s Health Package, The Government Needs To Do More

Shutterstock When the Federal Budget was announced this week, many believed the news to be cause for celebration. Though there were certain industries and areas that were notably overlooked – namely climate change – other areas saw the Government invest considerably. Around women’s health, the conversation was celebratory. More than $350 million would be invested […]

by | May 14, 2021


Despite The $354M Women’s Health Package, The Government Needs To Do More
Shutterstock

When the Federal Budget was announced this week, many believed the news to be cause for celebration. Though there were certain industries and areas that were notably overlooked – namely climate change – other areas saw the Government invest considerably. Around women’s health, the conversation was celebratory. More than $350 million would be invested in women’s health across the next four years as part of the 2021 Federal Budget, with a particular emphasis on funding towards cervical and breast cancer, endometriosis and reproductive health.

The package was touted as one with the aim of “improving long-term health outcomes for women and girls” across Australia. But when you break down the key investments, the package falls short. $100.4 million in extra funds would go to cervical and breast cancer screening, $95.9 million towards genetic testing of embryos, $47.4 million for mental health and wellbeing of new and expectant mothers, working to deliver universal perinatal mental health screening, and $26.9 million to provide more supports for people with eating disorders. 

All of this is absolutely necessary and given the accusations that have hit Parliament in recent months, the demand for greater Government support for women’s health and safety has never been more vocal. But even despite the investment, still more needs to be done. Nowhere is this more apparent than when looking at endometriosis, which will receive $5 million to support the Periods, Pain and Endometriosis Program, which educates students in SA and WA on period pain, pelvic pain and endometriosis when speaking at schools. 

Education around endometriosis is a necessity, particularly at a school level. But still there is little being invested into the research and treatment of endometriosis in Australia. Given the nature of endometriosis, which affects every aspect of a sufferer’s life, it is expensive, time consuming and incredibly lonely for those having to live with what many describe as an invisible illness. From the specialist appointments with gynaecologists, physiotherapists, pain specialists and GPs, the cost can be too much for many to bear alone and the cost to Australia is estimated to be around $7.7 billion in healthcare, absenteeism, and lost social and economic participation. 

It’s hardly surprising then, that following the government’s Federal Budget announcement, many women suffering from endometriosis are wanting more. We can’t stop at education, we must invest in research. Given that endometriosis is still largely considered a taboo subject, it’s time we prioritise the health of women and tell their stories and their pain. For too long, sufferers have had to combat endometriosis alone. Now it’s time for the government to step up and for greater action to be taken. 

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