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The Wild, The Whacky and the Wonderful – 2011 in Review

– Presenting at Eleanor Harvey Nursing Assoc. & receiving a donation to GAIN

Kath Mazella at Eleanour Harvey Nursing Association
Kath Mazella presenting at Eleanour Harvey Nursing Association

I was invited to present on behalf of GAIN to accept a donation from EHN. We have plans ahead to do an art exhibition and would encourage as many as you can to attend. It should be great fun and wonderful to see the professionals working alongside health consumers, all walking the same path together.

– Great Result from International GYN Day

Lisa Scaffidi (Right)

Lisa Scaffidi becomes GAIN’S Ambassador, Dr Jenny McClosky joins the GAIN committee and what a wonderful outcome for GAIN Inc as all enjoyed the wall-to-wall women gathered together to celebrate International Gyn Awareness Day.

Had you told me we would have 300 women gathered and that we would be speaking so openly about all things ‘down there’, I would have thought it impossible!  However, the whole place was a twitter with discussion following ex-Brothel Madam, Mary-Ann Kenworthy’s presentation where she encouraged us as women to be informed about how to protect ourselves from sexually transmitted diseases.

Cr Elizabeth Re (right)

Also attending to support the event was our ever faithful Cr Elizabeth Re.  Dr Jenny McCloskey was amazing as she regailed us with the latest figures, which surprisingly reveal that the mature aged women and men adopting a ‘swingers’ lifestyle are the highest now at risk of contracting a life limiting condition or sexual disease because of their more liberal lifestyle.  We were also warned that AIDS is on the rise to almost ‘Grim Reaper’ status again, a frightening thought for most.  I guess it is once again a timely reminder to all to be safe.

A fascinating day was had by all, with much increased access to information.  And did I mention that the Fashion Parade ladies looked absolutely beautiful?  The hats were divine and I was so proud of Tina and the team that worked so hard to put the day together.  Just disappointed I didn’t score the pampering pack in what was a fiercely contested charity auction. 🙂

– Falmouth Cornwall UK Promoting  International GYN Awareness Day crusade

Kath with Jeanette in the UK

Jeanette and I first met from a gyn cancer site in USA. Jeanette is a Nurse, a Gyn Cancer survivor and a Methodist Preacher. She resides in UK. I presented at her health forum in Cornwall along with Gyn Onc. Tinto. He was very supportive of the IGAD initiative and said there should be much more awareness out there in the global community. Of course that was music to my ears. Amazingly on the train home from Corwall we sat next to a couple who were from Adelaide and the man was a lecturer of Gynaecology. Incredible coincidence.

– Presenting at Australian Womens Health Nursing Association – Orange NSW

Nursing Association, Orange NSW

I received an overwhelming response from the nurses who attended this conference in Orange NSW.

I am pleased to say I know of another staunch advocate for Gyn health who I connected with NSW Family Planning who aloud her to also speak out and she to received a standing ovation after her speaking. So it goes to show that in this day and age a health consumer should be included in the academic side of educating the public.

– Bandyup Womens Prison display

I was invited to set up a display table at a Health Forum at Bandyup Women’s prison.  It was a realization to me how little women in prison know about Gynaecological health and  how much work needs to be done in this area.  Many women were keen to share their experiences, but due to the structure of the day and time limitations, I felt compelled to create a future opportunity for them.

– Port Hedland Aboriginal Womens’ Gathering

Port Hedland Indigenous Women's Gathering

This was a great experience to present and share with these women. A colleague Pam Heald also presented who has done some amazing ground breaking work for Aboriginal Women over 25 years ago – gathering the women and encouraging them to apply for funding for them to set up their own women’s health organization.

– Women’s Health Underfunded – SOS from sisterhood

It was great news to hear the releasment of the first National women’s health policy in 21 years was passed in December. Sadly there was no funding allocated to women’s health. Please read below as to how you can assist AWHN to make sure the women’s health centres are given more access to funding to support women.

It was the voice of the community who instigated a National GYN Cancer Centre of which I was involved in from the beginning so I appeal to all to write to the AWHN with your support for funding.

The next step is for the community to hear the voices/suffering in silence of the 600,000 Australian women with Endometriosis, 10% Polycystic Ovaries, Hysterectomies, Vulval conditions, Menopause, STI’s, Infertility, Cancers, the list goes on, what is needed is for the community to hear/understand more of this suffering so that changes and funding can be given to women’s health for research.

I received a request below from Co Ordinator AWHN Gwen Gray who I have personally seen fight for women’s health for nearly 20 years now – it would be great for her and AWH to receive  support from the community simply by writing to them.

Dear Members and Friends, The new Women’s Health Policy 2010 was released on December 29 and is available at:

AWHN issued a press release, as attached, which, despite the very unusual timing at a deep point in the Christmas holiday period, received considerable comment in the press.

AWHN and PHAA, along with the Centre for Women’s Health, Gender and Society, Melbourne University (formerly the Key Centre for Women’s Health) are planning to collaborate in writing a response, in an effort to influence the implementation of this policy. We would welcome your input and involvement. Please contact me if you would like to contribute. Best Wishes

Gwendolyn Gray, PhD Convenor, Australian Women’s Health Network Telephone: 0261253584 (bh) Fax: 0261252222 Australian Women’s Health Network Website

A prime example of why we need more funding for women’s health is I came across National Womens Health Hospitals Annual Report and most of it was about Mothers and Babies. Very little mention or non on the effects of Endometriosis, Infertility, Polycystic Ovaries, Hysterectomies, Vulval conditions, Menopause which effects thousands of women not to mention the ripple effect on the families which must cost the government millions of dollars. Surely by addressing these issues in the public arena could in fact help prevent a lot of these conditions.