May 11, 2021
Queensland Health’s Mobile Women’s Health Service is celebrating 30 years of delivering health checks to women living in rural and remote communities.
In the Darling Downs Health Region, three of the service’s longest-serving nurses have been working for more than 20 years across the region.
Marcia Hunt, Barbara Milne and Kathryn Anning have dedicated most of their nursing careers to rural women’s health.
Marcia – a very familiar face in the South Burnett – said there were many challenges in providing a health service to women in rural and remote regions in Queensland.
“Queensland is a large decentralised State, so it means a great deal of travel, and our northern Queensland colleagues have the added challenge of planning around wet seasons when roads can get cut off due to flooding,” she said.
“Despite these challenges, we all cherish supporting positive outcomes for women and their families – providing an impartial ear, empathy and a preventative, holistic approach to women’s health.”
Barbara said she and her colleagues valued the privilege of being welcomed into the communities they visited and their health promotion role.
“This is not a typical nine-to-five job,” she said.
“We have long days and lots of travel involved, however the work remains highly rewarding because we get to forge real connections and solid professional relationships with the women who attend.
“If the service wasn’t provided, some rural women wouldn’t access routine screening services or have the opportunity to discuss issues which impact personal or family life.”
Kathryn echoed the sentiments of her colleagues.
“We get the sense that we are able to make a real difference in the lives of rural women,” she said.
“Women feel comfortable and relaxed at our clinics and appreciate the extra time we are able to dedicate to each appointment due to our structure.”
For more information on the Mobile Women’s Health Service and upcoming locations, visit the website
* * *
The Mobile Women’s Health Service began at Roma and Mt Isa in 1991 but now visits a total of 151 communities from bases across the State.
Nurses see more than 5000 women every year.
It was established to encourage women in rural and remote communities to be proactive about their health and wellbeing, as well as provide increased access to female cervical screening providers.
The service has collected nearly 100,000 pap smear/cervical screening tests since 2003.