The (CERSH) Rural Sexual Health Conference 2015
Developing Innovative Service Systems for Rural Sexual Health 

This stream/theme is focusing on developing innovative service systems for rural sexual health in Australia. We are inviting the submission of abstracts (as an oral presentation, poster presentation, or workshop/panel discussion/yarning circle) that address one or more of the following elements:

Access and equity: How do we ensure that sexual health services in rural and remote areas are accessible and equitable? Do measures of access and equity for these services look different to those for other primary health care services? 

Different approaches, similar goals: How and why are various service systems, within and outside of the health sector, participating in the delivery of rural sexual health services?

Participatory service systems for sexual health: How are service consumers involved in service development in rural and remote locations? What are the implications for innovative service systems? 

Cultural considerations in developing innovative sexual health service systems: How have service systems responded to the sexual health needs of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples, and/or people from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds, with a focus or consideration about rurality?

Supporting innovative service systems: How has the development of innovative service systems resulted improvements in through sexual health through, for example, continuous quality improvement (CQI), best practice guidelines, practical guidance, tools or other supports?

Technology for health service delivery: How can technology be used to enhance access and equity to sexual health services in rural and remote areas?

Challenges to innovation: What are the political, economic, geographic, cultural, social, organisational, ethical and other challenges that confront those developing, implementing or evaluating service systems for sexual health, with a focus or consideration about rurality?

Please refer to the example for proffered paper abstract format details

Example Abstract

Authors: Jelbart S1, Holland L2, Kornmann E3

1Bendigo Loddon Primary Care Partnership, 2Bendigo Community Health Services, 3Women’s Health Loddon Mallee

Background and aims
Four rural community health agencies, together with the support of a coordinating regional and rural organisation, worked in partnership over a twelve month period to identify the barriers that prevent marginalised women in rural and remote communities from having Pap tests every two years to enable the development of innovative strategies to empower these women to change their cervical screening behaviours. 

The project had three main objectives: survey women in the targeted areas; respond accordingly to meet their needs; and conduct educational forums to raise awareness of the importance of screening and build knowledge of other health related topics.

Women aged 18-69 years from 13 rural postcodes (distance of approximately 239kms) were surveyed to identify their Pap testing practice, along with barriers and enablers to regular Pap testing. With a 20% return rate of surveys, a clear representation of rural women’s needs was established, enabling the local service providers to respond to their needs.

Extremely useful data was collected from this survey, including feedback for Nurse Pap Test Providers and General Practitioners. Of the 459 survey respondents, 20% of the women had not had a Pap test in the last three or more years, or had never had one, with a further 9% having been screened in the last 2-3 years. The main barriers identified were: ‘Embarrassment of the Pap test’, ‘Not sure if I still require a Pap test’, ‘Forgot’, ‘Fear of the Pap test’, ‘Unable to find a female Pap test provider’, ‘Pap test provider known to me’, ‘Not important’.

Two women’s health forums were conducted in the identified areas, post-survey, as a direct response to the needs identified by the rural women survey participants.

This project has highlighted exemplary collaboration amongst rural and regional health service providers to respond directly to the needs of the community.
(299 words)

Disclosure of Interest Statement
This was a Bendigo Loddon PCP funded project, consisting of a number of partner agencies. Potential conflict may now exist with one project partner, the Chair of the Sexual Health Task Group, who is now a staff member with CERSH. No other conflicts or interests are apparent.